Happy Women’s Rights Day!

Efling Union wishes its female members and all women in Iceland congratulations on Women’s Rights Day. Today it is remembered and celebrated that 109 years ago, on June 19, 1915, women in Iceland got the right to vote and to be elected to Alþingi.

Not all women got that right, but only those 40 years and older. The age limit should be lowered by one year yearly for the next fifteen years. However, Icelandic women did not have to wait that long. With a new constitution in 1920, equality was established between women and men, and they all got the right to vote at the age of 25.

Although many things have certainly been achieved since then the situation is still that there is a long way to go before equality is achieved in Iceland, and not least in the Icelandic labor market. 

According to the results of a survey by Varða-Labor Market Research Institute from last year, Efling women have the most difficult situation in the Icelandic labor market.

About two-thirds of Efling women find it difficult to make ends meet, more than half of them cannot meet unexpected expenses of 80 thousand ISK, and more than half live with a heavy burden of housing costs. The mental health of half of Efling women is poor and more than half of them show signs of burnout.

The women in Efling, and all working women in Iceland, are indispensable. Without them, society stops. They keep nursing homes running. Without them, kindergartens would have to be closed. Working women support real value creation in Icelandic society. They are the ones who handle the fish and clean the hotel rooms. They are the backbone of society.

It is an unconditional demand that immediate action be taken to improve the working conditions of women workers. They deserve a decent wage without worrying about how they’re going to cope until the end of the month, without having to worry about going to the dentist or buying new shoes to get through their days at work. This can no longer be delayed.

Let’s keep those demands on the agenda today and every day.

Happy Women’s Rights Day.