International Women’s Day: Important Dates in Icelandic History

♦1915: Women Gain Right to Vote
“Iceland was not the first country to give women the right to vote, but it was well ahead of the curve.” [1]

  • Women’s suffrage around the globe:
    • 1915: Iceland
    • 1917: Soviet Russia
    • 1918: Canada, Germany, Austria, and Poland
    • 1920: US and Hungary
    • 1971: Switzerland



♦1975: Icelandic Women’s Strike
“It was a spur to action and many feel that the solidarity women showed that day paved the way for the election five years later of Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the world’s first democratically elected female president. Finnbogadottir firmly believes that too. “After October 24, women thought it was time a woman became president,” she says. “The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge.”[2]


1980: Iceland Elects World’s First Woman President
“[Iceland] is a good place to be a woman,” says Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who in 1980 became Iceland’s president and, in so doing, the world’s first democratically elected woman president.” [3]


♦2016: Gender Pay Gap Protest
“Women employees make 14 to 18 percent less than men in Iceland — a discrepancy that unions and women’s organizations say means women effectively work for free after 2:38 p.m. On Monday, in protest of the pay gap, thousands of Icelandic women decided to work the hours their pay merited — by leaving their workplaces promptly when the clock struck 2:38.”[3]



♦March 8, 2017: Iceland to Become First Country in the World to Make Companies Prove Equal Pay by Law
“Under the new certification law, companies will be required to document how they value education, experience, responsibility and all other performance factors they incorporate into their pay system.” [4]

Photos & Facts:



Photo 1:
Photo 2: