Data

General Issues
Identity & Diversity
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Gender Equality & Equity
Collections
UA Clinton School of Public Service Students
Location
Dagenham
England
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
Regional
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Approach
Protest
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Total Number of Participants
99000
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Captive Sample
Targeted Demographics
Women
General Types of Methods
Community development, organizing, and mobilization
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
No Interaction Among Participants
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Individual
Staff
No
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in people’s knowledge, attitudes, and behavior
Changes in how institutions operate
Implementers of Change
Lay Public
Formal Evaluation
No

CASE

Icelandic Women’s Strike

January 14, 2022 Jesi Carson, Participedia Team
January 2, 2022 mcalderon
General Issues
Identity & Diversity
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Gender Equality & Equity
Collections
UA Clinton School of Public Service Students
Location
Dagenham
England
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
Regional
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of private organizations
Approach
Protest
Spectrum of Public Participation
Inform
Total Number of Participants
99000
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Captive Sample
Targeted Demographics
Women
General Types of Methods
Community development, organizing, and mobilization
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Inform, educate and/or raise awareness
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
No Interaction Among Participants
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Type of Organizer/Manager
Individual
Staff
No
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in people’s knowledge, attitudes, and behavior
Changes in how institutions operate
Implementers of Change
Lay Public
Formal Evaluation
No

On October 24, 1975, 90% of Icelandic Women went on strike for one day to remind the country of their importance.

Problems and Purpose

The process was intended to address the following problem: Icelandic women were not valued adequately for their work in the home or in the workplace [1]. A second cause of the process was that women were paid less than men [2]. The goal of the process was to raise awareness about the value of women to Icelandic society [3].

Background History and Context

In 1968 there was a strike for equal status by women factory workers at the Ford manufacturing plant in Dagenham, UK. Following the 1968 strike, there was a 1970 Women’s Strike for Equality in the U.S. As a result, the United Nations designated the year 1975 to be a Women’s Year [4]. In response to this, Icelandic women’s groups sought to organize events to commemorate the Women’s Year [5]. It was decided that the women of Iceland would go on strike for one day in order to remind the people of Iceland how important women were to Icelandic society, and to bring attention to the low pay of women [6]. This was the first time a women’s strike of nearly all the women of the country was used in Iceland [7].


Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The process was organized in the following manner: five of the largest Icelandic women’s groups, including the Red Stockings, established a committee in order to choose a way to commemorate the Women’s Year, designated by the United Nations in 1975 [8].


Participant Recruitment and Selection

This initiative was open to all Icelandic women, and the selection method was self-selection [9]. Organizers communicated the opportunity to participate through word of mouth. It is unknown whether other modes of communication were used. The goal was to have as many Icelandic women as possible participate; approximately 99,000 women participated, which was 90% of half of the population [10].


Methods and Tools Used

The methods used were a strike, although organizers referred to it as a “day off,” and other methods used were that strikers took part in a large rally [11]. For purposes of this case study, a strike is defined as women coordinating to not attend work on a particular day, and also not engaging in household or family duties that same day [12]. A rally is defined as a large gathering of women [13].


What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The aspects of public participation that occurred during this case included a strike and a rally. An estimated 90% of women in Iceland took part in the strike on the designated day, which was October 24, 1975 [14]. A large number of the women, around 25,000, took part in a rally in Reykyavik during the strike [15]. The rally featured public speakers and singing [16]. Participants described the rally as empowering and revolutionary, in a quiet way [17]. As a result of the strike, men were left to handle all aspects of child-rearing and household duties for the day [18]. In the workplace, men had to cope with the absence of the female workforce [19]. Many men who were fathers had to bring their children to work [20]. 

The rally featured discussions of low pay for women and the lack of women in governance [21]. The strike and rally preceded the internet, so all activities were face-to-face. The process was not designed to yield a formal recommendation; it was designed to raise awareness [22]. Given the number of women who participated, it was inescapable that the strike and rally were well known within Iceland [23]. News of the strike and rally became worldwide news [24]. 


Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The initiative was described as a quiet revolution that helped women feel empowered, and it achieved its intended results [25]. The strike was orchestrated to raise awareness of the important contributions of women in Icelandic society, and additionally, it spurred people to action [26]. The women’s absence from the workplace and from the home for the day was a very effective method to bring awareness to all that women did [27]. The strike helped create a change in public opinion [28]. The following year, a law banning wage discrimination based upon gender was passed [29]. Five years after the strike, Iceland’s first female president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, was elected; in 1983, the Women’s Alliance, a new political party, won seats in the parliamentary election [30].


Analysis and Lessons Learned

It appears that this process (the strike and rally) did contribute to policy changes. This referenced policy change would be the change in the law the following year, 1976, regarding gender discrimination in pay [31]. Furthermore, this process yielded participation on such a significant level that it is hard to believe that the attitudes of the people of Iceland were not impacted by it; the fact that 90% of half of the population (women) took part is a strong indicator that attitudes were influenced by the process [32]. Very nearly half of the population participated in the process [33]. The creation of a new political party, the Women’s Alliance, which won seats in parliament in 1983, demonstrates attitude change [34]. Even more dramatic evidence of attitude change is that Vigdis Finnbogadottir was elected the first female president of Iceland five years after the strike [35].


See Also

Carson, J. (n.d.). Global Climate Strike. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://participedia.net/case/6100.


References

[1] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[2] Buck, S. (2017, March 12). Iceland came to a halt when 90% of women walked off the job in the 1970s. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/iceland-came-to-a-halt-when-90-of-women-walked-off-the-job-in-the-70s-2017-3.

[3] Iceland: Women Strike. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1975/10/25/76619426.html?pageNumber=34

[4] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[5] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[6] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[7] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[8] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[9] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[10] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[11] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[12] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[13] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[14] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[15] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[16] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[17] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[18] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[19] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[20] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[21] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[22] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[23] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[24] Iceland: Women Strike. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1975/10/25/76619426.html?pageNumber=34

[25] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[26] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[27] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[28] Gunnarsson, O. Æ., & Helgason, M. S. (n.d.). The 1975 Women's Strike: When 90% of Icelandic women went on strike to protest gender inequality. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://icelandmag.is/article/1975-womens-strike-when-90-icelandic-women-went-strike-protest-gender-inequality

[29] Gunnarsson, O. Æ., & Helgason, M. S. (n.d.). The 1975 Women's Strike: When 90% of Icelandic women went on strike to protest gender inequality. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://icelandmag.is/article/1975-womens-strike-when-90-icelandic-women-went-strike-protest-gender-inequality

[30] Brewer, K. (2015, October 23). The day Iceland's women went on strike. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34602822.

[31] Gunnarsson, O. Æ., & Helgason, M. S. (n.d.). The 1975 Women's Strike: When 90% of Icelandic women went on strike to protest gender inequality. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://icelandmag.is/article/1975-womens-strike-when-90-icelandic-women-went-strike-protest-gender-inequality

[32] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[33] The day the women went on strike in Iceland. (2005, October 18). Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/18/gender.uk.

[34] Brewer, K. (2015, October 23). The day Iceland's women went on strike. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34602822.

[35] Brewer, K. (2015, October 23). The day Iceland's women went on strike. Retrieved October 3, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34602822.