Women's specific situation in Europe

island.jpg (5054 bytes)Women’s specific situation in Iceland

Women’s situation in Iceland is in many ways different from other countries, although the main formal rights and informal non-rights are the same. In this country, as elsewhere in the so-called western civilised world, women are banging the heads agains glass doors and ceilings, while they in relation to themselves and others are learning to see and tackle old prejudice, feelings of non-worthiness and fear for their own power. In addition there are new demands and feelings of needing to be a superwoman, embracing both the new and old values.

The difference lies in the fact that Icelander’s are a tiny populatoin of only 270.000, so it’s relatively easy to organise the whole nation in situations of need. Icelandic women are also used to independence. The long history of men going fishing in the villages while the women stayed home, and/or the need for everyone to make a contribution to keep the nation going, has created a culture where women know that they make a difference. In 1975 almost all the nations women took part in the nations most wideranging strike.Instead of doing their daily work at home or at the job, the women gathered on town-squares and demanded to be heard. The were! The whole national machinery stopped. Five years later, in 1980, Vigd?s Finnbogadóttir became the first woman in the world to be elected as president, and two years later the Women’s Alliance became a political group, first as a power in some of the towns and a year later in national politics. However, women’s wages are still just some 60% of men’s wages and women work hard, most have at least a part time job outside the family, many much more than a full time job. And in a time when we had hoped for real freedom and equality, the international sex-market has invaded this country with its oppression against women, not least "imported" foreign women.

Women are now the majority of students on almost all levels of informal and formal adult education in Iceland, so their educational level is rising high.

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