50.000 people, mostly women, gathered together in downtown Reykjavík yesterday to celebrate Woman’s Day Off, a day when Icelandic women were encouraged to stop working and demand equality.
People from all ages and classes gathered together. The Icelandic National Broadcast Service reports that the mood was good and the march successful.
Women started to gather around Skólavörðuholt in Reykjavík at 3 p.m. They then marched to the center of Reykjavík singing and carrying signs, calling out chants for equality. Not everyone made it to the meeting at Ingólfstorg; the city center was so packed with women that some had to make do with listening to the speeches from Lækjartorg or Austurvöllur.
According to the radio station Bylgjan not much as changed regarding managing positions for women from 1999 to 2004. In 1999, 15% of managing directors were women. In 2004, 18% of managing directors were women; 2% of chairmen were women, about the same percentage as in 1999. At the end of 2004 there were over 30% more men in board of director positions than women. More women than men work in retail and the service industry.
In 1975, when Woman’s Day Off was first celebrated in Iceland there were three women in parliament, Althingi. Today, there are twenty-two.