‘Change the world’

Women in Iceland leave work early — precisely at 2:55 in the afternoon — to protest gender pay gap

Protesters in Iceland gather to demonstrate against the wage gap and sexual harassment against women in the workplace. (Facebook / Kvennafrí)

Women in Iceland left their offices early on Wednesday to gather in Reykjavík for a large-scale protest against gendered income equality, as well as violence and sexual harassment against women in the workplace. For the protest, which is the sixth of its kind since 1975, women left work at 2:55 p.m. to signify the discrepancy between women’s and men’s wages. According to the website run by the protest’s organizers, Iceland Statistics had found that “the average wages of women in Iceland are only 74 percent of the average wages of men.”

“Therefore, women have earned their wages after only 5 hours and 55 minutes, in an average workday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m,” the site explains. “Women stop being paid for their work at 2:55 p.m.” Two years ago a similar demonstration was staged when women walked out of work 14 percent early to protest the country’s wage gap at the time, which was 14 percent.

In 2018, Iceland introduced groundbreaking legislation to make it illegal to pay men more than women, but activists say that there’s still significant progress to be made. And the protesters had support that came right from the top of the federal government there. Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir joined women in the capital and across the country in the protest and walked out of work at 2:55 as well.

“This is a battle against violence, against all workplace harassment, against all harassment of women and others,” said Icelandic Women’s Rights Association chairperson Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir, noting that the #MeToo movement had helped expose how rare it was for men to be held accountable for workplace harassment. This year’s slogan for the protest, she added, is “Don’t Change Women, Change the World.”

Below, watch a time lapse showing demonstrators gather after leaving work.

Read the full story at Iceland Review.

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