Women in Iceland leave work at 2:38 PM

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screenshot from mila.is

Women demonstrated in the streets of Reykjavik in order to protest against the unequality in salaries. Indeed they earn on average 14% less than men on the island.

Women in Iceland are encouraged by unions and organizations (like ASI : Irish labor confederation) to walk out of their workplaces at 2:38 pm today. In fact,  women protest against their conditions at work : they work the same hours as men, but they don’t have the same pay. The schedule of 2:38 was chosen after a calculation based on an eight-hour day of work. From this precise time, women would no longer be paid in Iceland while men continue to be so until 5:oo PM. United in Reykjavík, the demonstrators started in Austurvöllur square.

A fight for many years

But the fight for equal pay is nowhere near over: an estimate was made, showing that 52 years are needed to complete equality between man and woman. And is not the first time that women are out for this reason: it was the case in 2005 at 2:08 PM and in 2008 at 2:25 PM.The date of 24 October was not chosen by chance either, it refers to the strike of 24 October 1975.  At the time, 90% of women had left their posts. Since then, that date is know in Icelandic history known as “Kvennafrídagurinn”, or  the “women’s day off.”

Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, told RÚV today that for 60 years, it has been illegal in Iceland to discriminate based on gender. “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.” A battle far from over …



an empty office


Marine Sabourin, IEJ 1D


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