I wanted to write about women's equality today and found this inspiring short video on Twitter (hat tip to @equalpayact for the retweet and @icelandinspired for the post). In 1975, 90% of the women had a 'day off' in Iceland, leaving their workplace or home to take to the streets. They refused to work, cook, or care for their kids - it got people's attention and changed history. One result was In 1980, a single mom, Vigdis Finnbogadottir (the woman in this video) was elected President, the first female President in Europe. She held that position for 16 years!
I think the success of the day came from the positivity in the action. By not calling it a strike or making demands, the action maintained everyone's attention and avoided anger or a fight reflex, instead allowing men and women both to realize women are a huge part of society and their contribution is strong and necessary. Not that there isn't a time and need for anger, fight, and demands, but my interpretation is that it was organized in such a smart manner for that particular country and generation. Changes occured in their government, businesses, and lifestyles and remain and grow today. Here is a BBC article with more details and data.
The woman with Vigdis (they go by their first names in Iceland, right? Correct me if I'm being unintentionally disrespectful) is singer, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, lead singer of the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. I enjoyed her enthusiasm in the video and felt like she was really moved and inspired to spend time with such an intelligent iconic figure in Vigdis. Lovely video, great true story. In recent news, Icelandic women around the country left work 14 minutes early and gathered in protest to the current 14% pay difference between men and women in the workplace. They have come so far but still continue to strive for full pay equality.
Bravo to all the women today, especially in the soccer/football world, who are working hard and organizing around the issue of gender equality. Keep up the good fight! Let's all remember the trailblazers from Iceland the next time we take a women's day off. #equalpay