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Women joining forces in fighting off Wage Gap and Violence

How can you ensure your own value and contribute to gender equality? While there are various strategies one can consider, a particularly impactful albeit dramatic approach is temporary absence from responsibilities. In Iceland, women have employed this method to amplify their voices, by collectively refraining from all forms of work, both paid and unpaid, for a day.

Beneath the dramatic nature of this event lies a critical concern regarding gender wage disparities and gender-based or sexual violence. Iceland, often cited as a progressive example in both areas, still grapples with concerning statistics, as revealed by the Icelandic Federation for Public Workers:

- A 21% gender wage gap

- 40% of women experiencing gender-based or sexual violence

These injustices have far-reaching consequences, extending beyond moral and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) considerations. As stated in a report by the Federation of public worker unions in Iceland, these consequences manifest in various spheres:

Societal Impacts

- Increased inequality

- Gender pay gap

- Greater expenditure on welfare

- Elevated healthcare and medicinal costs

- Decreased gross domestic product

Workplace Impacts

- Higher illness rates and absences

- Escalated staff turnover

- Reduced productivity

- Diminished employee morale and motivation

- Increased compensation and costs related to psychologist and lawyer services

- Erosion of goodwill and harm to reputation

Individual Impacts

- Declining physical and mental health

- Increased stress and depression

- Reduced self-esteem

- Feelings of humiliation and shame

- Elevated irritability and anger

- Lower job satisfaction

- Loss of income

This serves as an opportunity for us to reflect on our roles at home and work and actively work towards equalising the status of all women around us, irrespective of whether they are compensated for their efforts.


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