19 June 2015 marked 100 years since women were given the right to vote in Iceland. Every single woman in the country stopped working on the same day and demanded that right which I find inspirational. In celebration of the landmark anniversary, the country’s city council is hosting one hundred events throughout the year to focus on women’s suffrage in Iceland.
Many events, curated by national and independent businesses all over the country, will be showcasing throughout the year; from panel discussions, art exhibitions, rallies, school events, concerts and museum exhibitions all dedicated to women’s suffrage. The Icelandic post office has also planned a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion. On 19 June, companies and institutions will be closing its doors from midday to give people the chance to take part in the events and to officially celebrate the anniversary.
Iceland continually demonstrates why it is ranked as the best country in the world for women; for the fifth year in a row, Iceland has been given the title of the nation with the smallest gender wealth gap by the World Economic Forum. It has also been recognised as the first nation in the world with an equal number of men and women in government, and the first country to have a democratically elected female president in 1980.
Following the launch of the #HeforShe campaign at the United Nations in New York last year, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, extended a “formal invitation” for men to participate in the gender equality conversation. One in 20 Icelandic men have signed up to the UN’s HeForShe campaign demonstrating that gender equality is a genuine global human rights issue.
Activities and events dedicated to women’s suffrage include: an exhibition at the Maritime Museum conducted by anthropologist, Dr. Margaret E. Willson, on her findings about women’s participation at sea in Iceland, is open to visitors until December 2015; Guðrún Sigríður Haraldsdóttir’s art installation, which explores the female form consisting of handwritten letters and portraits of women from around 1915.