Here’s Why Women Are On Top In Iceland


Iceland is the most feminist country in the world and also one of the happiest. This is no coincidence.

Iceland has the best gender equality record in the world. In the World Economic Forum’s recently-released Global Gender Gap Report 2014, Iceland topped the ranking of the world’s nations with the smallest gender gap for the sixth year in a row. Iceland ranked first in many categories including political empowerment; educational attainment; economic participation and opportunity; and health and survival. For every man enrolled in university, there are 1.7 women. There are two women for every three men in parliament.


Iceland’s high female engagement in its labour force is one of the reasons the economy continues to perform well. In Iceland, 71% of women and 77% of men work, according to World Bank data for 2013.

There are reasons for this and the reasons will surprise you. Women’s equality has been on the forefront of the country’s political, economical and social landscape for more than 150 years.

  • Iceland became the first country in the world to grant unconditional equal inheritance rights to men and women in 1850.
  • Women got the right to vote in 1915, five years before the United States.
  • In 1975, 90% of the country’s female citizens went on a nationwide strike for economic equality and some 25,000 women rallied at a protest in the capital city Reykjavik. The country came to a standstill and the men could barely cope, between child-rearing and work. One year later, parliament passed a law guaranteeing equal pay for women.
  • In 1980, Iceland elected Vigdís Finnbogadóttir as president, making her both Iceland’s and Europe’s first female president. She was re-elected thrice before retiring in 1996, the same year the country legalized gay civil unions.
  • In 2000, the country passed a law giving equal parental leave: three months for each parent with an additional three months to split between them. The law was amended in 2012, to a 5-2-5 policy, where each parent is entitled to five months leave with an additional two months to share.
  • In 2009, Iceland elected the world’s first openly lesbian head of state and their first female Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir.
  • In 2010, it became first country in the world to ban stripping, prostitution and lapdancing to send the message across that women or people in general are not for sale.
  • In 2015, the country embraced the #FreeTheNipple movement, when outraged feminists across Iceland, men and women alike, took to Twitter to desexualize breasts in the fight for gender equality.


This is a sexually liberal country that clearly values women.

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  1. I’m confused, if there are 1.7 women to every 1 man in university, does that not imply men are disadvantaged in some way? If the statistic were the other way around people would say something needs to be done to get more women into uni would they not? Here in England, men are lagging far behind in education, and the male suicide rate is a number of times higher than women’s, yet I don’t see anyone out campaigning for this to change, and what could be more important than education and keeping people alive (literally with suicide). I truly truly admire true feminism (really egalitarianism) but the kind of feminism I keep seeing on tv and in articles across the web is the kind that is all too ready to forget about equality whenever men’s problems are brought up, or whenever any man dares to say he disagrees with something….

    When EVERYONE is treated equally and rewarded based on merit rather than gender or race or sexual orientation then we will truly have a fair and just society, but advancing one gender at the expense of the other is just as sexist as the oppression dealt out previously in the opposite direction. Having said that, I believe Iceland is alot further along the path to true egalitarianism than the majority of other countries on this earth right now.

    • I completely agree with you on every aspect of your statement. It seems like everyone can only see in one dimension and they do not the full spectrum. Women have unfair disadvantages and so do men but since women were treated poorly in the past now is men must experince this unfairness? I’m so confused by how people are equality. I think I’d be far better off if I just moved north into the woods (USA) and started a new micro country free of all past convictions. Unfortuantly communes left that idea with a strong unforgiving stigma.

    • How does it imply that men are disadvantaged if both genders share the same freedoms? The women were disadvantaged due to lack of freedom. If a few men are attending college less, it doesn’t necessarily reflect inequality in the system. Perhaps a few more women there are simply interested in attending college?

      • Your own argument completely destroys the premise of this entire article. This essentially explains the wage gap, difference in political involvement, STEM field differences, and many more Feminist arguments are rendered moot when held to that argument.

        However, your argument fails in this context as it lacks information, such as the fact that women get special grants to go to collage as well as gender quotas to make sure women never fall behind, while men don’t get those quotas.

  2. This is real feminism, not the bullshit kind where women promote them selves as better than men. Men and women are equal.

    • I know right. The sluts, bulldikes, egomaniacs, power mongers and plain idiots tried and too often succeeded in hijacking the movement for their evil designs. My great grandmother was a feminist who fought for equal pay for women in the 1930’s. That was true feminism, which basic concept is just fairness and equality. The “liberation” movement is just a slutty, drunk ass, soft minded sorry excuse of phony feminism.

  3. The truth is Iceland has carried over old viking behaviors from a 1000 years ago when life was tough (and still tough because of climate) and mom and pop worked together and respected each other and where women are different but equal. They rule inside the house and over children and are respected for it. The men owns the outdoors. A good Icelandic or Scandinavian woman is a treasure.


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