October 24 – Remembering “Women's Day Off” in Iceland!

Posted October 24, 2016

Today is the anniversary of a huge nation-wide strike – but in the relatively not-very-wide nation of Iceland. On this date in 1975, about 90% of all the women in the nation took part in a strike – which means that they refused to work. Or cook. Or do housework. Or take care of children. Instead, they joined almost all the other women in the country, in the streets, in a gigantic nationwide protest for equal rights.

Women generally comprise a bit more than half of the population of any given region or nation. They are as important as men, and they should be acknowledged as such.

But it wasn't until the gigantic Women's Day Off strike that many men realized just how important women are to society.

Many banks, factories, and shops had to close.

Schools and nurseries had to close.

Many fathers couldn't do anything other than take their children to work, and there were excited crowds of kids in many offices and other workplaces. Some of the men had to take time away from their usual jobs to deal with the kids – and they found themselves trying to bribe the kids with easy-to-cook meals of sausage or with sweets and treats. So much so that sausages sold out partway through the day!

When people listened to the news, to find out what was happening in other corners of Iceland, they often heard the noises of children at the radio station! And they found out that the Women's Day Off strike had a humungous turnout!

Five years later, a woman named Vigdis Finnbogadottir won the presidency of Iceland. She was not just Iceland's first female president, but the first in all of Europe. And she was the first woman in the entire world to be elected as the head of state in a democratic election!  

And Vigdis Finnbogadottir held the position as president for 16 years. Iceland has since been called the world's most feminist country!

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