Iceland Blows The U.S. Away When It Comes To Women In Politics
You might have heard something about how the U.S. could soon have its first female president. Iceland cleared that hurdle several decades ago.
The country blows the U.S. away when it comes to equal representation of the sexes, as Claire Zillman notes in.
This weekend, Iceland elected a record number of women to its Parliament. Women will now hold 48 percent of the seats. That’s the largest percentage of women in a legislative body in the world, excepting those countries that have quotas for gender representation.
In the United States, women hold a sad 19 percent of the seats in Congress.
Last week, for the eighth straight year, Iceland came in first on the World Economic Forum’s list of countries ranked by gender equality in politics, education, health and economic opportunity.
The U.S. ranked 45th.
Iceland is far ahead of us for a number of reasons. First, as the Guardian notes, women there have a long history of self-reliance. For generations, while the men went to sea, women were the ones running things back home.
“Without men at home, women played the roles of farmer, hunter, architect, builder. They managed household finances and were crucial to the country’s ability to prosper,” The Guardian writes.
Then during the feminist wave of the 1970s, Iceland’s women did something amazing: They went on a massive strike. On Oct. 24, 1974, some 90 percent of the women stopped work ― at home or on the job ― and took to the streets.