Thursday, October 27, 2005

Iceland Women's Walk Out

This one's from this morning's perusal of salon.com and the latest fun there, Broadsheet, the blog devoted to women's issues. Women in Iceland walked off their jobs, in huge numbers, to protest continuing inequality, including the fact that mothers' salaries dwindle while fathers' grow. Icelandic women make 64 percent of men's salaries, not so far off from what's happening to many american mothers' salaries. The (female) mayor of Reykjavik reportedly supported the walk-out, and encouraged city workers to join in. Check it out.

If they can do it there, why not here? Why can't we even imagine this kind of support among women, and men, who apparently brought children to work in great numbers the day of the walkout? I'm privy to at least some discussions about activism on behalf of mothers rights and women's rights in our country, and no one even mentions this kind of public protest, ever. And why not?

7 comments:

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chip said...

put simply, we Americans have been conditioned (brainwashed?) to believe we are just individuals, that we each have to fight any fight on our own, that collective action and solidarity don't work and are unamerican... Just think of the massive anti-union propaganda in this country. All of this is reinforced by a conformism that is so ironic -- given how we like to think we are individuals -- that is reinforced by fear.

Icelanders are an independent lot (I have some friends from there), but they are smart and know that the way forward is through cooperation and collective action.

Anjali said...

I agree with Chip, but I also believe that it's because unionized actions and concertive efforts in this country have lost much of their power and legal protection. Labor laws have changed a lot with the current administrative, giving employers plenty of wiggle room to legally navigate through employees' efforts and terminate or discipline employees who take action. I think employees are just too afraid for their jobs.
Of course, we couldn't even get the ERA passed, so there's a lot more to it.

Alda said...

Hello there - great to read your post. I did a couple of posts about this last week as well, from the field so to speak. You're right in that our female mayor supported the action, but she was only one of many - I think it's safe to say that most bosses supported the action - and the vast majority encouraged their staff to take part. It was very much a national effort.

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