Members of these associations elect their chairmen meaning the majority of women are voting men into these positions. Gyða Margrét Pétursdóttir, assistant professor in Gender Studies at the University of Iceland, did not see this as indicative of a lack of faith in female leadership.
“In the case of pre-school teachers it could be seen as clever to vote a man in as chairman. It is common knowledge that men who are hired at this level receive a lot of attention in our society, which is possibly a strategy to push union issues and increase respect for the profession. Additionally, it could lead to more men seeing themselves in this field.”
Pétursdóttir said that in our society it seems men are listened to more and that their demands are met differently than those made by women.
“But you fear that this notion will stick and that the message that women receive will be to continue being cute, shutting up, and letting men take care of things.”
In a few weeks The Icelandic Teacher’s Union will be electing their chairman. Although 80% of the members are women the two candidates are men, which has lead to the question of whether or not women believe in themselves enough to pursue these positions.
“In this respect society has taught us that men are best suited to be leaders. You can see it tangibly when examining who the CEO’s of companies or the most influential members of society are. Most people are familiar with the concept of the glass ceiling that women come across when trying to gain top positions. The phrase “glass escalator” describes how men journey to the top.”
Pétursdóttir said this is an opportunity to look at the situation more carefully as women make up half the population and therefore should of course make up half of our leaders.