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Women in Solidarity: Iceland Workers On Strike

Women in Solidarity: Iceland Workers On Strike
Photo by Sam McNamara / Unsplash

It is a historic week in Iceland.

For the first time in nearly 50 years, women and non-binary people in Iceland are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with a mass work stoppage. Starting on Tuesday, the strike is set to last a full 24-hour day.

Spanning many industries both paid and unpaid, the strike is being held with the intent to close the gap in wages between men and women. As well, the action is a call for greater protections against gender-based sexual violence and harassment across the board.

This time around, even the Prime Minister of Iceland is leaping into the fray. PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir has thrown her lot in with her fellow women and femme-presenting folk in a show of strength and unity.

When it comes to gender equality, Iceland beats out a lot of other countries. The nation is known for its progressive culture and forward-thinking attitude. That said, no country is without its problems.

There are still industries and job sectors where a large pay gap exists between men and women, going up to a 20% disparity in some cases. Sexual violence and sexist discrimination still happen. Even if it's at a lower rate compared to nations with a lower regard for female bodies, it's still not something to ignore.

The recognition of these issues that still persist is a good thing. The fact that the people of Iceland are adamant that even a lower rate is not good enough, that's even better.

The fight isn't over until the battle is won. Iceland may have the enemy of sexism on the ropes, but it hasn't hit the mat yet. There's still fight left in it. To achieve true and lasting equality, that last spark needs to be stamped out.

And in the rest of the world where this problem is considerably worse and more widespread, we can take the people of Iceland as an example.

We ought to take inspiration from this and use it as a reminder that there's always room to fight for a better world. We only get the short end of the stick while we accept it.

We can demand better, fight for better, and build better on the foundations we've already laid.

Solidarity wins.