Icelandic Government to Research Gender Distribution of Unpaid Work Skip to content
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Photo: Golli. infants and their caretakers at a baby swimming class in Reykjavík.

Icelandic Government to Research Gender Distribution of Unpaid Work

While research suggests that women do much more unpaid work in Iceland than men, concrete data on the issue is lacking. Last Friday, the Icelandic government approved Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s proposal to conduct a study on what is often called the “second shift” or “third shift;” unpaid housework and caretaking work; and its distribution between genders in Iceland. The results will be used to shape government policy.

“In neighbouring countries, time use studies have been carried out that have been used in policy making, and an Icelandic study on this topic could give clear and easily understandable results and manage to capture the gendered reality in a different way than has previously been done,” a government notice states. The study will be carried out in collaboration with Statistics Iceland.

Majority of Icelandic State’s shift workers are women

The Icelandic government recently published its third report on mapping gender perspectives, a joint ministry initiative that maps gender perspectives in relation to government work as well as presents proposals for action. The report’s findings include that women make up the vast majority of shift workers employed by the state. These female shift workers are much more likely to work part-time than other women employed by the state.

Women in Iceland are also much more likely to be granted disability status due to musculoskeletal disorders than men. The rates of musculoskeletal disorders have decreased among both women and men, however, in recent years.

The government has also approved a proposal that each ministry define at least one specific gender equality goal for the 2024-2028 budget and work systematically towards it, with defined actions in the budget proposal.

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