Women in Iceland strike for gender equality, October 24th 2018


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Icelandic women‘s organizations and labor unions are calling for a women‘s strike this coming Wednesday, October 24th 2018, to protest gender income inequality and violence and harassment in the workplace.

Our demand is Don’t Change Women, Change the World!

In recent months, stories of harassment, violence and injustice women suffer in the workplace have been shared on social media under the hashtag #MeToo. These stories have made it clear that our fight for gender equality in the workplace cannot only be about equal pay, but must also be about safety in the workplace.

We will no longer tolerate this harassment, violence and injustice! Women should be safe at work and safe at home. The focus now is to put pressure on companies and the government to change how they deal with misogyny, harassment and violence in the workplace and to make sure all employers have regulations and protocol for when incidents occur.

Women‘s solidarity and women‘s protests in Iceland have driven social change. This is the sixth time that women in Iceland have gone on a strike for gender equality under the banner of Kvennafrí (Women’s Day Off). We walked out in 1975, 1985, 2005, 2010 and 2016. However, even if we have made great gains in the past four decades towards gender equality, we still have not reached full equality.

Women in Iceland are encouraged to leave work at 2:55 p.m. on October 24th 2018, the minute they stop being paid for their work.

According to the newest figures from Iceland Statistics, the average wages of women in Iceland are only 74% of the average wages of men. Women are therefore paid 26% less on average than men. Therefore, women have earned their wages after only 5 hours and 55 minutes, in an average workday of 8 hours.  This means that, if the workday begins at 9 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m, women in Iceland stop being paid for their work at 2:55 p.m.