Hennar Rödd / Her Voice, a nonprofit which “strives to raise awareness of the experiences of women of foreign origin in Iceland” will be holding a conference in Reykjavík today, Saturday October 2.
Topics to be discussed include the experience of women of foreign origin within the Icelandic healthcare system, not least as regards accessibility and cultural sensitivity, as well as mental health, sexual health, and freedom. The conference will take place in Icelandic and English and be translated into Polish and English.
Hennar Rödd / Her Voice received funding from the Icelandic Gender Equality Fund to support the conference, which will open with remarks from First Lady Eliza Reid, who is herself originally from Canada. Participants include activists, educators, politicians, artists, researchers, and professionals from Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, Somalia, and the US.
Inspired by her mother
Hennar Rödd / Her Voice was founded by Chanel Björk Sturludóttir and Elínborg Kolbeinsdóttir and took its inspiration from Chanel’s mother, Letetia B. Jonsson, who is of Jamaican and British descent and lived in Iceland about 10 years ago.
“Whilst living in Iceland, Letetia participated in the community of women of foreign origin and met many inspiring women with whom she shared similar challenges in regards to integrating to Icelandic society as well as the language barriers they met,” explains text on the Her Voice website. “As Letetia’s daughter, Chanel experiences these challenges that women of foreign origin in Iceland face through her mother. These difficulties affected Chanel’s own experience as a mixed-race Icelander and encouraged her to take on this matter. After looking to her friend, Elínborg Kolbeinsdóttir, who studied sociology and human rights, they decided to join forces and found an organisation with the common goal to raise awareness of the experiences of women of foreign origin in Icelandic society.”
Her Voice focuses on four key challenges faced by women of foreign origin in Iceland: Language acquistion, Gender-based violence, high unemployment rates, and barriers to adequate health care.
Those who would like to attend the conference can join Her Voice at the same time; a combined ticket and membership costs ISK 1,500. A ticket alone is ISK 1,000. Find out more on the conference website here.