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Why Iceland Ranks First for Gender Equality

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Iceland is a country in which gender equality lessons are thought throughout all levels of education starting from preschool and this is a contributing factor as to why it has been ranked as the number one feminist country for 8 years running. Icelandic women are the most enfranchised (given all the rights a citizen should have) and powerful on earth. This is due to Iceland being one of the few countries in the world to take a real look at the negative effects of the sex industry and do something positive about it. Beginning in 1850, Iceland became the first country to grant unconditional equal inheritance rights to men and women. Not long after, in 1915, women also got the right to vote, the right being given to them five years before women in the United States.

The most significant moment in women’s right in the Nordic (relating to Iceland, Finland, Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands) country was in 1975 when on the 25th of October, the majority of women in the country protested for economic equality. Since women could have been fired for going on strike, the organisation instead called it an organised “day off”. Approximately 90% of the female population took part in this act, (including both housewives and professionals) where women from all walks of life gathered together to form 10% of the Icelandic population making an effective impact as it left the men barely coping due to the lack of female presence both in the workplace as well as in child-rearing. A cord was struck which resulted in the Parliament passing a law which guaranteed equal pay for women a year later. Five years after the demonstration, Iceland democratically elected not only their first female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir but the first in Europe. At the time she was a divorced single mother with a career spanning work as a tour-guide, television presenter and in the theatre. In 2000, equal parental leave was granted in which both parents were given 3 months leave with an additional 3 months to split between them and in 2012, the law was amended (modified) in such a way to extend the 3 additional months into five.

The Icelandic government pays 95% of kindergarten tuition, making it easier for women to return to work. Iceland outlawed (declared illegal) strip clubs in 2010 and is the only country to have done so in support of women rather than for religious reasons. They also announced that they were looking into tighter controls on censoring, and even banning, Internet pornography after carrying out extensive research into its negative effects on depicting women as sex objects. Campaigns such as Slutwalk have been embraced by the Nordic country. It began abroad, however, was supported by Iceland and taken to new levels. Thousands have marched in solidarity against the notion of slut-shaming which puts the blame for sexual assault on the victim due to the way she dresses (appearance). Clearly, the last 150 years of women’s rights and campaigns have been a part of the Icelandic consciousness as the Nordic country has become the first to close the gender gap in education, health and other aspects.

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Why Iceland Ranks First for Gender Equality. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from
“Why Iceland Ranks First for Gender Equality.” GradesFixer, 26 Nov. 2019,
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Why Iceland Ranks First for Gender Equality [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Nov 26 [cited 2021 Dec 1]. Available from:
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