In Iceland, Women Leave Work at 2:38pm to Protest Gender Wage Gap

Thousands of women across Iceland walked out of work at 2:38pm local time Monday to protest the country’s gender wage gap, arguing that their lower wages mean they effectively work without pay after that point.

“No woman chooses to be oppressed,” said one activist filmed in Reykjavík during the protest by the U.K.’s Channel 4 News. “No women chooses to get paid less than men.”

The walk-out occurred on the 41st anniversary of Iceland’s famous Women’s Day Off, when 90 percent of women in Iceland stopped working—at home and on the job—to raise awareness of the role women’s work plays in society.

The day, which saw women rallying in the center of Reykjavík while men scrambled to take care of children, cook, and work the lower-paying jobs that women tended to hold, was later referred to by many men as “the long Friday.” It paved the way for the first election of the world’s first democratically elected female president, which happened five years later, Annadis Rudolfsdottir recalled in the Guardian.

But decades later, women in Iceland still earn 14 percent less than their male counterparts. (In the U.S., women working full-time earn 20 percent less than men.) On October 24th each year, women in Iceland leave work once again and rally during what’s now known as Women’s Day for Equal Pay.

Refinery29 observes:

Three minutes are added on average each year, The Reykjavík Grapevine reports.