Tens of Thousands Participate in Women's Strike Skip to content
women's strike iceland 2023
Photo: Golli.

Tens of Thousands Participate in Women’s Strike

The Women’s Strike taking place today across Iceland is seeing widespread participation. Exact numbers are not yet known, but forecasts indicate that tens of thousands of women and non-binary individuals are participating.

At the forefront of the strike is the gender pay gap, in addition to gender-based violence. The so-called “third shift,” in which women perform unpaid domestic labour such as childcare and household chores, has also been increasingly discussed by activists.

This marks the sixth women’s strike since Women’s Day Off in 1975, the first such labour action in Iceland.

Disruption to services

As reported yesterday, the strike has had an outsized impact on fields such as healthcare and education, where women form a majority of the workforce.

Vísir also reports that all pools in the Reykjavík area except one, Klébergslaug on the Kjalarnes peninsula, are closed today. Klébergslaug will, however, have shortened hours, open only between 4:00 and 10:00 pm.

Almost all bank branches will be closed. All branches of Landsbankinn and Arion bank will be closed, except for the location in Smáralind shopping centre.

Many municipal services will also be reduced today, either due to shortened hours or outright closures.

Air travel is not expected to be significantly affected today. Though a majority of employees in the sector are women, airline executives have stated that other employees are filling in for those participating in the strike.

Large protests in Reykjavík

One of the main events of the day is a protest organised on Arnarhóll hill, in downtown Reykjavík. Thousands were in attendance and a live stream can be viewed from RÚV here.

Highlights of the programme include talks by activists and live musical performances.

Women and non-binary persons outside Reykjavík are also taking part. RÚV reports that a group of women working in Akranes, for example, staged a “knit-in,” when their employer made clear that they wouldn’t be paid if they were to go on strike.

International media attention

The Women’s Strike has also drawn considerable attention from the international press, with outlets from the New York Times to the BBC and the Guardian covering the strike.

According to the World Economic Forum, Iceland has done the most to reduce the gender gap in the world. According to the WEF, the gap is 91.2% closed in Iceland.



Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article