The conversations of life

This week, women in Iceland abandoned work at exactly 2:38pm this week. Why?

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They decided they were going to work 14 per cent less because of the 14 to 18 per cent gap between pay for women and men there.

The protest saw thousands of women walk off the job to gather on streets in the capital Reykjavik and around the country.

It’s not the first ‘Women’s Day Off’ either.

The first one was in 1975 and saw tens of thousands of women attend. In 2005, the Day was revived again with the walk out at 2:08pm. In 2008, it was 2:25pm.

Australia lagging behind

The first 'Women's Day Off' in 1975. Credit: Iceland in Pictures.
The first ‘Women’s Day Off’ in 1975. Credit: Iceland in Pictures.

So in eight years, they’ve only taken 13 minutes off the gap. Based on this, it will take 52 years for women in Iceland to receive equal pay.

They’re still well ahead of Australia however. Here, women won’t get the same pay as men for another 170 years, according to the latest Global Gender Gap Report. Are we really going to stand for this?

Iceland definitely isn’t. Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, 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,” he said. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”

Something we can all agree on?

See a video of the protest here.

Annie Donaldson

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.


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