In a mark to protest against the gender pay gap prevalent across the country, women in Iceland left their offices at 2:38 PM on Monday.
The interesting thing about 2:38PM is the reason behind this time. In a country considered world’s leader in gender equity, the gender pay gap persists. Here, women employees make 14 to 18 percent less than men- a discrepancy that unions and women’s organizations say means women effectively work for free after 2:38 PM.
Therefore, on Monday October 24 women across Iceland left their offices as soon as clock struck 2:38 PM. The Iceland review reported that in Reykjavík, they convened on Austurvöllur square, where a program began at 3:15 pm to protest the gender pay gap in Iceland. Similar protests have been planned all over the country.
— Salka Sól Eyfeld (@salkadelasol) October 24, 2016
According to the reports, Women’s Day Off was originally held in Iceland on October 24, 1975. On that historic day, tens of thousands of women in Iceland left their work -refusing to work, cook, or even provide childcare and gathered in downtown Reykjavík to bring attention to their large role in society. Next Women’s day off was held on October 24, 2005. On that day, women walked out the minute they were working for free compared to men, or at 2:08 pm. In 2008, they walked out at 2:25. In eleven years, less than three minutes have been gained a year in narrowing the gender pay gap. Accordingly, if the same trend continues, women and men cannot enjoy equal pay until 2068, i.e. 52 years before women are paid equal to men.
While explanations for the discrepancy vary, women and Icelandic leadership alike agree that the progress is too slow, the New York Times report said.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap,” said Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”