Despite daunting weather conditions, an estimated 50,000 people took part in the Women’s Day Off demonstration yesterday.
Some 50,000 people marched from Hallgrímskirkja to the foot of Arnarhóll in a show of solidarity and protest at the gender wage gap and other inequalities that still exist in the workplace between men and women. Women were encouraged to leave their jobs at 14:25 yesterday, to bring attention to the fact that a woman is still not paid for a full day’s work. The gender gap varies from industry to industry, but the average in 2009 was about 10% in the capital area, and as high as 40% in the countryside, making the national average about 19.5%.
The first Women’s Day Off was held in 1975, where women across the country were encouraged to leave their jobs early. Over time, the event has gathered more steam. Today, even the mayor of Reykjavík himself has encouraged the event, telling reporters last week, “In the fight against gender inequality, it is very important that the many voices of the women who work for the city of Reykjavík are heard and seen in this symbolic fashion.”