Being in politics is never easy, but Icelandic women in politics have recently recounted some harrowing instances of sexism they have had to endure.
As reported, over 300 Icelandic women in politics have come forward with their stories of misogyny in the course of their careers. These incidents range from low-key sexism to blatant misogyny, including having their drinks drugged and being threatened with rape.
Public broadcasting service RÚV has published a compilation of these stories (in Icelandic), where these women candidly and sometimes graphically recount their experiences. Some of these incidents include:
“My stories include dozens of instances of threats, harassment, and degrading and misogynist comments. Geiri í Goldfinger [a notorious strip club owner in Kópavogur] encouraged men to get together and rape me, and to protest at my family home. Due to my fight against strip clubs in Reykjavík I had to deal with all kinds of threats from ‘special interest groups’ and so forth.”
“One male candidate and member of parliament was a speaker of the evening at an event at a sports association. He decided that this was the opportunity to share his wisdom and name the women he worked with that he would most like to have sex with. When he was done, he added that the greatest advantage of working with a shorter woman was that she didn’t even need to get on her knees for the chairman.”
“Once I was on city council. I worked hard on and submitted a proposal, putting it forward in city council as the rules dictate. The day before the council convened, a councilman called me late at night and started yelling at me over the phone. That he should submit this proposal. That he represented the relevant council. That he was higher up on the list. That I should obey. That he should speak on behalf of this proposal. Screaming the entire time.”
“I was drugged at a part national convention. I was ashamed of myself for having accepted a drink from an unknown man, blamed myself for not telling more people about it. Fortunately, things went better than they could have, as people saw that I could barely stand (after two glasses of white wine). I blacked out and remember little about this, but I was fortunately driven home, for which my spouse is very grateful, as it could have ended badly.”
“I was with my boyfriend at a financial convention of Icelandic municipalities. On Thursday, we had some drinks, and everyone was in a good mood. I needed to go up to my hotel room, and got on an elevator, when one male politician hopped on with me. We chatted, and he let me know that he found me very sexy, cornered me, felt up my breasts and I froze when he stuck his tongue in my mouth. The elevator stopped, and he invited me to come to his room, as he said he needed to have sex with me – that I had teased him long enough. Fortunately, a woman came to the elevator and asked if I had a sanitary pad. I lied and said I had some in my room. She went to my room with me, asking me if I was alright because I was walking so fast. I ‘didn’t find’ the pad, but I dragged her downstairs with me and we walked right into that politician’s wife, who asked if I’d seen her husband.”