Political Parties hosted an open meeting this morning in Reykjavík to discuss the MeToo movement and its effect on politics. The event was streamed live on the Left Green Movement’s Facebook page.
The meeting opened with an address from Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Katrín encouraged the parties present to approach the issue as a systemic one, rather than divide along party lines, as has “happened in many countries around us. That way we destroy the opportunity to examine ourselves and our own culture and system. No party can maintain they are free of the danger of gender harassment, gender-based violence, or gender-based discourse.”
Following Katrín’s address, special guest Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, presented the results of a study conducted by the organisation titled “Sexism, harassment, and violence against women in parliaments in Europe.” The findings of the Europe-wide study showed that 85.2% of women MPs who responded had experienced psychological violence as part of their job in politics. While 46.9% had received death threats or threats of rape or beating, 67.9% had been the target of sexist comments and 58.2% had been the target of online sexist attacks on social networks.
A panel discussion followed the addresses featuring representatives from all sitting parties in the Icelandic parliament. Panel members addressed questions from the audience at the end of the meeting. Pirate Party MP Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir criticised the Icelandic parliament for its reaction to the Klaustur Scandal. Minister and Progressive Party MP Lilja Alfreðsdóttir agreed with Þórhildur, adding that society had sent a clear message to parliament that such behaviour would no longer be tolerated.