Working women earning low wages on the agenda at the #MeToo-conference

The international conference #MeToo: Moving Forward took place in Harpa on September 17th through September 19th. The conference covered, among other things, gendered violence and harassment in the context of the class system and labor market issues. Many foreign visitors attended the conference, among them the renowned social justice activist Angela Davis from the United States of America.The chairman of Efling, Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, gave a speech on September 18th under the heading “The running women of Iceland” where she emphasized the lot of low-wage earning women within the interwoven power structures of capitalism and patriarchy. That is was not enough to substitute women for men in places of power while the oppression of the downtrodden continues unabated. A video of her speech may be seen here (begins on the 23rd minute). Joining her on the panel were activist women from several countries who discussed their experience and vision regarding the struggle for equality.Viðar Þorsteinsson, the managing director of Efling, lead panel-discussions regarding the connection between precarious work and how vulnerable women are to harassment and violence in the labor market. Drífa Snædal, chairman of ASÍ gave a lecture in that panel, along with two women fighters from the American labor movement, June Barret and Monica Ramirez. The panelists agreed that violence and harassment against women in the workplace, whether in service jobs, care work or agriculture. are a key factor in maintaining inequality between the sexes and that the labor movement has important work to do in that struggle.Efling thanks the organizers of the conference for having invited the union’s representatives to take part and for placing the issues raised by the #MeToo-movement in the context of the status of low-wage earning women.