An All-Woman Parliament - The Reykjavik Grapevine

An All-Woman Parliament

Published June 3, 2015

Photos by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

An MP for the Independence Party has suggested that parliament be comprised solely of women for two years, to see whether government would function better that way.

RÚV reports that MP Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir, the parliamentary party chairperson for the Independence Party, shared a proposal with parliament yesterday to legislate an all-woman parliament from 2017 to 2019. She emphasised that she had long considered this idea and shared it with other women in parliament.

“Why not?,” she addressed parliament. “When one stands before a worsening discussion of the issues we face, meanness and inflexibility, this idea is just as good as any other.”

While many male members of parliament objected on the grounds that they prefer equality, it should be noted that Iceland’s parliament was all-male from its founding in 930 until 1923 – or for 993 years – when Iceland’s first woman MP was elected. Ragnheiður’s all-woman parliament, by contrast, would only initially last two years.

During this time, Ragnheiður said, “women would show whether it is true what they say, that women work differently than men.” At the end of the experiment, she said, “the people themselves could ask themselves whether it would be wiser to have an all-woman parliament”.

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