Iceland is the number one country in terms of having the smallest gender gap between men and women on four points:
- political empowerment
- educational attainment
- economic participation and opportunity
- health and survival
According to an article on Quartz (qz.com), Iceland’s gender gap is 87% closed; Saadia Zahidi, head of the World Economic Forum’s gender equality campaign, said full equality may be in sight should Iceland “continue at the current rate of change,” it will be the first to reach total gender equality.
On Oct 24, 1975 twenty-five thousand Icelandic women — 90% of all women in the nation — abandoned their domestic and professional work and gathered in Reykjavik to protest economic inequality and to demonstrate how important they are to the work force. This strike completely paralyzed Iceland and opened the eyes of their men. The day was called Women’s Day Off. In 1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir won Iceland’s presidency and also became Europe’s first female president and the first woman in the world to be democratically elected as a head of state.
Even progressive countries fail their female citizens and have a ways to go. One study revealed that women in the United States are paid less in all industries, at every level, for the same work as men and are also barred from leading in government, business and beyond. Everyone else must follow the example of Iceland and take active strides towards closing the gender gap.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
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