“Long Friday” in the International Women’s Year

The year 1975 was proclaimed by the UN the International Women’s Year, and the 1976-1985 decade was the UN Decade for women’s rights. This decision came at a time when economic and wage inequalities between women and men had reached alarming proportions. In this context, Iceland, known as one of the most feminist countries in the world, made history with a unique and brave movement that proved to be a real social earthquake that create awareness of the need to rethink the role of women in society. Iceland has stood out since the beginnings of feminism as one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote. This was in 1915. However, in 1975 only 5% of parliamentary people were women. On October 24, 1975, almost all women in Iceland decided to stay at home, refusing to go to work and participate in household chores or raising children. Free Women’s Day – Kvennafrídagurinn – since 1975, when 90% of Icelanders women protested by not showing up to work – at home or at work. They initially considered declaring the day a strike, but thought the wording would be too harsh. It was the 70s, when women’s rights were still fragile. So they proposed that instead of a strike, they should declare that day a day off. In the context of the UN declaring that year to be International Women’s Year, an Icelandic organization called “Red Stockings” suggested that all women protest to demand an equal share in the economy. The movement involved women from all social and professional backgrounds, eager to change something concrete in how they were treated. What were Icelander women protesting for? These were times of huge wage inequality for women. The payment gap reached a gap of 60%. For the same work, women were paid two-thirds less! Not to mention the unpaid and unrecognized work from home! Shops have closed, also fish markets and butchers, representative of Iceland. Fathers had to stay at home, take care of the children or take them to work. The country’s economy was blocked for a day, which created awareness of the importance of women in the labor market and domestic work. More than 20,000 women gathered in the central square of the Icelandic capital Reykyavik to demonstrate and celebrate.

The World’s First Female President

Among the protesters was Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a divorced single mother with an adopted child, who in 1980 would be elected the world’s first female president. She served four terms as president, from 1980 to 1996. The aftermath of this Women’s Day off, which went down in history as Long Friday, was beyond expectations. In 1976, the government proposed laws for gender pay equality and other rights for working women. For President Vigdis Finnbogadottir’s second term, she outranked three male challengers, and in the following two terms, she had no challengers. Currently, the former president is a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO. Photo: kvenrettindafelag.is
+ posts

Share this post