Iceland’s prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has penned an article for CNN’s news site regarding gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination in Iceland and abroad, Vísir reports. The article coincides with a conference in Harpa called MeToo: Moving Forward, the first international conference focused on the #MeToo movement and its aftermath, taking place over three days, ending tomorrow.
In Katrín’s article, titled “Gender inequality is one of the most persistent evils of our times”, the prime minister talks about lessons revealed by the #MeToo movement and the importance of using its cultural momentum to bring about lasting changes in matters relating to gender equality. “Does [#MeToo] represent a permanent change for the better or a small window of opportunity that will shut again, resulting in a backlash? How can we make sure the efforts lead to enduring societal change?” Katrín asks.
When the #MeToo movement first started gaining momentum two years ago, many women in Iceland published their own testimonies under the hashtag, revealing discrimination that clashed with some people’s image of Iceland as a harbinger of gender-equality. “For many of us, the testimonies of migrant and ethnic minority women marked a turning point. They described levels of multiple discrimination that most of us had hoped didn’t exist in Iceland,” Katrín writes.
“They revealed that while Iceland has made internationally recognized progress on gender equality, we have not sufficiently confronted the intersections of gender, racial and class injustices. In this regard, Iceland, as well as the other Nordic countries, have lessons to learn from more diverse societies. Notably, this is one of the key themes at the conference.”
MeToo: Moving Forward will feature speakers from Iceland and abroad, including Perna Sen, the UN Women’s Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination, playwright Justina Kehinde, former parliament member and artist Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, Swedish gender equality activist Alán Ali and Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Martin Chungong. The conference will be partially live streamed via its Facebook event, found here.
For more information on the MeToo: Moving Forward conference visit MeToo.is