Thousands of Women in Iceland Left Work 3 Hours Early Today to Protest the Gender Pay Gap

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Photo: Courtesy of Twitter/sharpseth

Forty-one years ago, the women of Iceland went on strike to protest the fact that women were not treated like pivotal contributors to everyday society. On what is now remembered as Women’s Day Off in the Nordic country, women took to the streets, forcing banks, factories, and shops to close for the day, ultimately proving women’s important role in the function of their country.

In a tribute to this early form of resistance, the women of Iceland have taken to the streets again today to protest the gender pay gap. While Iceland is on track to become one of the first countries to close its pay gap between men and women (this year, the gap was at 87 percent ), protests in several cities continued. And thousands of women showed up.

According to Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, it has been illegal for 60 years to discriminate based on gender in the workplace, which is why these protests are so important. He told the Iceland Review, “No one puts up with waiting 50 years to reach a goal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap. It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”

The significance of the specific walkout time is, of course, related to how much work a woman would have to do in order to be paid the same as a man. This is the third time women have protested on Women’s Day Off in Iceland since the first occasion in 1975.