It Rules That Iceland’s Women Once Went on Strike From Being Women

Vigdis Finnbogadottir
Vigdis Finnbogadottir Photo: Mike Stephens/Central Press/Getty Images

Today we’d like to salute the women of Iceland: it’s the fortieth anniversary of their first and only Women’s Day Off. On October 24, 1975, in order to demonstrate the inequality that existed in the Nordic country and seek equal rights, Iceland’s women went on strike from all traditionally female tasks. Bravo and happy anniversary.

According to a story in the BBC today, the decision to strike affected nearly 90 percent of women in the country of 220,000:

Banks, factories and some shops had to close, as did schools and nurseries — leaving many fathers with no choice but to take their children to work. There were reports of men arming themselves with sweets and colouring pencils to entertain the crowds of overexcited children in their workplaces. Sausages — easy to cook and popular with children — were in such demand the shops sold out.

Many women who participated in the day’s events believed that by slowing down much of Iceland’s industry, the whole country would see what a pivotal role women played in keeping the infrastructure of the entire place running. Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the first female president in Iceland and Europe, who was elected only five years later, told the BBC that, “Things went back to normal the next day, but with the knowledge that women are as well as men the pillars of society. So many companies and institutions came to a halt and it showed the force and necessity of women — it completely changed the way of thinking.”

Not saying we should get some ideas, but hey we should get some ideas.


Iceland’s Women Once Went on Strike