The Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) has released the following statement:
September 27th, 2021
It is difficult for us in the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association (IWRA) to have release this statement declaring great disappointment with election procedures, only a day after experiencing the sheer joy when it was announced that women had, for the first time in the history of our republic, been duly elected a majority in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Now, following a partial recount, three women are no longer elected to parliament and the ratio of women in Alþingi has fallen below 50%. And we might still not have the final results of this election.
Democracy is the foundation of equality. These days, democracy is under attack in many countries around the world and it is more important than ever that we nurture democracy here in Iceland. Free elections are the foundation of democracy and authorities are obligated to ensure that election procedures are transparent and fair. Citizens should be able to trust that their votes matter and that they are correctly counted.
IWRA reiterates its demand that Alþingi take the initiative to change voting laws to require all parties running for local and national elections implement internal rules guaranteeing women’s equal representation in candidate slates and equal representation in the top positions of those slates. Only four parties in Alþingi have implemented such internal gender quota rules, Framsóknarflokkur, Samfylking, Viðreisn and Vinstri hreyfing – grænt framboð.
IWRA notes that it is not enough to ensure that women are equally represented in parliament, we also need to ensure that Alþingi and the government works with integrity and urgency to ensure equality in our society.
IWRA demands that the leaders of the political parties now represented in Alþingi fulfill their campaign promises and make gender studies and equality studies compulsory at all school levels.
IWRA furthermore demands that Alþingi and the governments enact a national effort to eradicate violence against women, and that they enact a national effort to increase the wages and benefits of women and to eradicate the gender income gap.
Women are fed up with disappointment. We grit our teeth and continue our work to create a better society, an equal society, for the benefit of us all. Today, we commemorate the 165th anniversary of Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir, the Icelandic suffragette who fought for and won women’s right to vote. We owe it to her, and to the tens of thousands of women who have fought for women’s rights and gender equality in the past century and a half, that democracy and gender equality be honored.