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Today, at 14.25, Icelandic women will be walking out of their workplaces. The reason for that precise timing: with the wage gap factored in, that is when women will have completed a full workday.

Some interesting factoids from the Fréttablaðið editorial today:

Women are 50% of the human race, but own one percent of the world’s assets. Women are estimated to work two-thirds of all working hours worldwide. For this they receive ten percent of all earned revenues.

According to Statistics Iceland, Icelandic women earn 66 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

Violence against women is a far more common reason for women’s illness than traffic accidents and malaria combined.

Some 800,000 people are estimated to be trafficked annually on a global scale, most of them for sexual slavery. Eight of every ten are girls and women, and about half are below the age of consent.

Statistically, one in three women in Iceland will experience serious sexual assault at some point in their lives.

At the end of 2009, 3.1 percent of Icelandic women had sought counselling from Stígamót — The Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence, since its foundation in 1989.

Nine out of ten board members of Icelandic companies are male.

According to a new report by the World Economic Forum, the gender gap is lowest in Iceland of all countries studied. However, that report also shows a great discrepancy between the labour participation of women — which in Iceland is among the highest in the world — and their economic participation, which has Iceland in 18th place.

According to a 2008 wage survey by the Union of Public Servants, a man in Iceland with an elementary school diploma can expect to earn a higher salary than a woman with a university degree.

A demonstration is planned today. It will start at Hallgrímskirkja at 3 pm and make its way down to Arnarhóll, where there will be a staged programme. It’s cold today and a storm warning is in effect, but from what I can tell, there are loads of people [NB not only women] attending. Meawhile, many workplaces are closing their doors at 2 pm in support of the initiative.

Áfram stelpur!



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland October 25, 2010, 2:01 pm

    Go for it comrade sisters,still at least in Iceland you don’t have your nose sawed off for the crime of wanting to learn how to read and write if you lived under the scourge of Islam.

  • Gretchen October 25, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Excellent news for Iceland & feminism in general! @kevin, please don’t add to extremist trends by overgeneralizing about Islam. It’s terribly bad in some places, not so bad in others, eg., Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world. If you really want to criticize misogyny in patriarchal religions, why not start at home with the Christian church? Using your approach, one might well generalize about the billions who practice that faith based on extremist polygamist Mormons in rural Utah.

  • maria October 25, 2010, 3:42 pm

    Interesting iniciative. If this happened in Spain the whole country would be paralized. But we don’t have what it takes. What Icelanders have, it seems.

  • James Wilde October 25, 2010, 3:50 pm

    “Meawhile, many workplaces are closing their doors at 2 pm in support of the initiative.”

    …so that the men will not be discriminated against! 😛

  • Rajan Parrikar October 25, 2010, 4:11 pm

    Gretchen: “…don’t add to extremist trends by overgeneralizing about Islam…”

    Why, thank you for the little tutorial on political correctness and apologia for Islam. “Not so bad in others” – yes, they don’t saw your nose off in Indonesia, so full marks to them for that. That said, I agree with you that there is no need at all to generalize about Islam; the particulars are bad enough.

  • Michael Schulz October 25, 2010, 8:34 pm

    Yes, Iceland, in spite of lots of megalomania, has a long way to go to achieve gender equality. In spite of what officials might tell the world.
    And(!), lets not forget that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani might still be stoned to death!

  • sylvia hikins October 25, 2010, 8:36 pm

    Long live feminism. We still have a long way to go yet but sisters united will never be defeated! What brilliant solidarity- I hope it unites men and women in Iceland not only to think about issues of equality, but also to do more about it.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • James October 25, 2010, 10:35 pm

    The UK will be treating the two sexes more equally in future: the female retirement age is rising from 60 to 66 by 2020 in order to equalise with the male retirement age.

  • George Grosman October 25, 2010, 11:18 pm

    @ Gretchen: apples and oranges. To extrapolate from a few Utah wackos to all of Christianity makes zero sense. But saying that the status of women in *most* Islamic countries is appalling is a true statement. I know that moral equivalency makes you feel good about yourself but in the end it’s just an exercise in futility. Indonesia might be the exception but from Saudi Arabia and right many countries in Africa, women are second and third class citizens, abused, tortured and killed. Islam is NOT a female friendly religion.

    As for Icelandic women walking out of work at 14:25 – I have no opinion one way or the other. Probably not the greatest idea in the midst of an economic crisis but then again, a good way to put your point across. Good luck to all Icelandic women! And men! 🙂

  • kevin oonnor,waterford ireland October 26, 2010, 12:07 am

    Never mind all the above rubbish comments I Kevin OConnor have discovered the the way to repeat multiple orgasms
    Je t’aime sufffer Icelanders.

  • alda October 26, 2010, 12:40 am

    Kevin, I hate to break it to you, but that was just one orgasm.

    She does give Meg Ryan a run for her money, though. 😉

  • kevin oconnor waterford ireland October 26, 2010, 2:58 am

    @Alda my suspicions are proved you girls fake it every time, but anyway can I have some of what is she is having.

  • Gretchen Jude October 26, 2010, 3:50 pm

    Hey, thanks, guys for your generous responses to my little attempt at slowing the tide of anti-Islam sentiment. Just out of curiosity, I wonder how often Kevin, George or Michael discuss Islam and women’s rights with Muslim women? Anyway, how refreshing to have my misconceptions about women’s rights & patriarchal religions gang-corrected by a group of men. Rajan, also edifying to see that the term “P.C.” can still be resurrected to stifle a dissenting view, so that one can avoid having to provide any specific facts or substantial argument whatsoever. (The lady has learned her lesson, she’ll just go back to lurking now. In any case, I love your site, Alda!)

  • sylvia hikins October 26, 2010, 5:21 pm

    @Kevin. You call THAT an orgasm?!!!! Clearly, you’ve never been to Liverpool!
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Joerg October 26, 2010, 6:24 pm

    The participation figures are impressive. I couldn’t imagine a similar number of participants in Germany, percentage-wise, even if Germany is behind Iceland in the rankings in all categories. Does this particular date have a specific historic meaning for Iceland and Icelandic women?

  • George Grosman October 26, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Gretchen, I will readily admit that I don’t know any Muslim women. In that sense, your criticism of my rebuttal is correct. In my defense, however, I will state that I have traveled through the Middle East and observed first hand the behavior of women AND the behavior of men towards women in Egypt and Jordan, two of the most enlightened Muslim societies. I don’t know if you’ve been to those countries but I know that my wife would not want to live there. Honor killings – despite some recent government efforts – still go on. You often see veiled women walking a few paces behind their man. The right to vote has only recently been granted in countries like Kuwait (in 2005, if I recall correctly) And, of course, Mohammed himself beat his wife and female abuse is described and condoned in the Koran.

    I don’t see the “tide of anti Islam sentiment” you speak of, at least not here in Canada. A major Canadian city has just elected a Muslim mayor (Calgary) We’ve had Muslim federal MP’s for some time now. The deputy editor of Canada’s largest circulation newspaper is a Muslim. I personally suffer from no anti-Islam prejudice. I simply wish to state facts as I see them and correct misconceptions as I perceive them. You are free to disagree, of course. But to engage in a morally relativistic posture (“they are no worse than we are”) is – at least in my opinion – a way of hiding from a truth that is plain to see.

    All the best to you, Gretchen. I, too, enjoy Alda’s blog. A great way to keep up with news from “The Rock”



  • Rajan Parrikar October 26, 2010, 9:39 pm

    Gretchen Jude: “Rajan, also edifying to see that the term “P.C.” can still be resurrected to stifle a dissenting view, so that one can avoid having to provide any specific facts or substantial argument whatsoever.”

    My earlier rejoinder seems to have been disallowed. Perhaps it violated commenting etiquette.

    Gretchen, I haven’t stifled anyone unless you regard expression of disagreement with your views an instance of stifling.

    This is particularly rich in irony. For the people on whose behalf you have taken up the cudgels are known to do nasty stuff to dissenters – like chopping off body parts, gouging eyes, and other such niceties. Ask the guy in Denmark who has to live in hiding with round-the-clock fear for his life. Or Molly Norris, who recently has to erase her identity and melt into the shadows. Dissent is the first thing the people you defend don’t brook.

  • alda October 26, 2010, 9:58 pm

    @ Joerg — it does. The first “Women’s Day” was held in 1975, to commemorate the start of the UN’s Women’s Month (or similar — have to confess I don’t remember what the exact event was, but that day was the start of it 🙂 ). On that day women also stopped working and demonstrated downtown. They also stopped doing the household chores (much was made of the poor males who went without dinner that night). It was considered very radical at the time. This day has been celebrated four times since then — the last time in 2005 (to commemorate 30 years having passed) when a similar number — 50,000 — thronged the downtown area.

  • JamieLee October 27, 2010, 12:08 am

    Gretchen: “…please don’t add to extremist trends by overgeneralizing about Islam. It’s terribly bad in some places, not so bad in others, eg., Indonesia…”

    Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, took over Papua from the Dutch in 1963. Human rights groups say more than 100,000 peaceful Papuan natives— a fifth of the population — have died at the hands of the Indonesian military.

    Google the words ‘gendercide – East Timor’ to study the mass killing of non-Muslim women in that Indonesian province. See gendercide.org for an education.

    Slightly worse than polygamy in Utah, wouldn’t you agree?

  • kevin oconnor,waterford,ireland October 27, 2010, 1:15 am

    @Sylvia Go ed ,Gissa a Job,I can do that my names Yosser Hughes ha ha.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford,ireland October 27, 2010, 1:31 am

    @Gretchen Jude Yep thats right girl “Thou shalt not disagree with guys” the 11th commandment,anyway surely you should be pregnant,bare footed and chained in the kitchen doing some chores rather than commenting on this blog ha ah ha.

  • George October 27, 2010, 2:22 am

    “Women are 50% of the human race, but own one percent of the world’s assets. Women are estimated to work two-thirds of all working hours worldwide. For this they receive ten percent of all earned revenues.”

    Based on my somewhat limited experience viewing American homeless and tent city residents, most are men. Prison populations are also mostly male. My guess is those individuals are not in the statistical base, or are listed as having nothing (0 assets, 0 earnings) when their situation may be worse than nothing. It is not clear how to average worse than nothing statistically.

    Most wealth in the world is concentrated in Europe, North America, and Japan. Those countries have large levels of income redistribution that means that women receive relatively little benefit from having econ0mically successful children, in exchange, it is said, for increased economic security (state retirement benefits). It is also likely that women participate more in government pension schemes where the assets are not attributed to men or women, but they are there.

    The lists of wealthiest persons now include quite a few Chinese women, which suggests that in the future women will control more assets. Maybe they won’t be European women but they will be women.

  • vikingisson October 27, 2010, 2:59 pm

    How did this topic go into the pointless Islam argument or any religion at all?

    But you go girls! One of the more equal societies is still keeping the menfolk aware of the remaining issues. Turned into a nice tradition.

  • Peter -London October 27, 2010, 7:05 pm

    The US was heavily involved with the genocide in Indonesia. During the Vietnam war the US was very happy to see 100’s of thousands of dead Indonesians if it keep the communist threat under control. The US is also directly responsible for the millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians killed in that conflict.



  • MarcVdB October 27, 2010, 9:41 pm