Dissatisfied with the gender imbalance of speakers and panel participants, Albertína Friðbjörg Elíasdóttir, MP for the Social Democratic Alliance, walked out of an electricity symposium in Akureyri yesterday, RÚV reports. Albertína called the situation “utterly absurd,” and said that she’d be taking the matter up with parliament.
The symposium was held by the Icelandic Regional Development Institute, began with an address by the Minister for Transport and Local Government, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, and followed by six speakers—five of whom were men. The panel discussion that came after this did not include Helga Þórðardóttir, the only female speaker.
Albertína said that she’d inquired about the gender balance of the participants before the event, but when it came to light that Helga would not be taking part in the panel discussion, she stood up and calmly walked out. “I didn’t want an uproar or to make a scene—it was a good symposium and an important subject—but this is, of course, utterly absurd on International Women’s Day…” she said. “It shouldn’t happen in 2018 that there is only one woman speaker and then only men on a panel.”
“The state must be setting a good example at the forefront and ensuring gender equality in all areas,” she said.