Iceland is famous for being a leader in the fight for gender equality, topping the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for nine consecutive years. On the occasion of International Womens’ Day, I reached out to a sociologist from Háskóli Íslands to delve a little bit deeper into the subject of equality between women and men and find out what could be the next pending issue in this area.
“The situation of women in Iceland looks very good when you compare it to some of the other countries (the United States, for example), but there is still room left for improvement,” says Berglind Rós Magnúsdóttir who specialises in gender issues in the context of education. “Women are welcome to participate in male-dominated sectors and we are treated more or less as equals there, but our work done in the traditionally feminine field of care – like being a nurse or a preschool teacher – is just not valued enough,” she emphasises. It seems that the wage gap between men and women is closing only in those male-dominated areas, while the more feminine professions are left behind. “It is important to remember that becoming a nurse requires as many years of education as becoming an engineer and that it might be seen as a much more labour-intensive kind of work. Still, it is neither compensated nor valued accordingly and this needs to be changed in order for the society to become truly equal,” she concludes.
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