The WIP Study Trip to Iceland was a successful learning exercise about the global leader in gender equality. International female Parliamentarians coming from more than 20 countries had the opportunity to meet the President, the Prime Minister, Members of the Government and Members of the Parliament of Iceland during the 2-days Study Trip in Reykjavík (3-4 April).
Three milestones in the history of Iceland were essentially mentioned during the Study Trip:
- “Imagine that one quarter of your country’s population takes a day off; that happened here in 1975,” said Eygló Harðardóttir, Minister of Social Affairs and Housing, about the impact of the Women’s Strike (24 October 1975). More than 25.000 women took a day off to emphasize the importance of women’s contribution to the society. As a result the society as a whole came to a halt.
- “I had the responsibility to prove that a woman could do it,” said the former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, first female President democratically elected in Iceland and in the world (1980) who opened the way for many women around the world. President Vigdís received the “WIP Award for Lifetime Achievements in Female Political Empowerment” during the Study Trip.
- “A new party made a difference for gender equality in Iceland, and this was the Women’s Alliance,” emphasized the former Speaker of the Parliament, Ásta Jóhannesdóttir about an all-women political party founded in 1983. This party succeeded in breaking the male dominance in politics in Iceland and increasing the female representation.
Today, 39.7% of the Icelandic MPs are women. Although this is one of the highest percentages in the world, the 2013’s elections are seen as a step back for the women political empowerment in Iceland (before the elections, 43% of the MPs were women). “A higher number of women in decision-making positions will not only change politics but it will change the world,” argued Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, Minister of the Interior.
The Icelandic laws which have contributed to closing the gender gap in the country were widely discussed with the local politicians and the female CEOs of the companies Rio Tinto Alcan, Actavis, Steinunn and Lýsi. “Maybe not everything can be copied by other countries, but there are lessons that we can take away from Iceland,” defended Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, who hosted the visits to the local companies.
- The Icelandic parental leave scheme was highlighted several times as one of the key legislations to advance in gender equality. The scheme consists of 9 months of paid parental leave: each parent has 3-months leave -not transferable- and they can divide other 3 months as they like. According to the Icelandic politicians, more women are in the labour market now because the risk of hiring a man or a woman is more equal.
- “A lot of Icelanders have changed their minds about quotas in company boards,” said Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir. Iceland passed a new law that obligates companies to have a minimum of 40% of women or men in their boards in 2010. The impact of this legislation, which took effect on 1 September 2013, is the increase of women leaders in business.
Despite ranking number one in the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2013, the Icelandic politicians stated that they are not yet there. “We need to break the glass ceiling over and over again,” said Katrin Juliusdottir, former Minister of Industry, who had twins during her mandate. Inequalities like the gender pay gap and the gender pension gap are some of the old new problems to be tackled during the next years; while monitoring the effect of the new legislations like the gender quotas in companies.
A block booking for all the participants has been made at the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica Hotel. Participants are invited to book their accommodation directly with the hotel, using the this link or by phone (see number below), mentioning the booking code WIPICELAND2014.
The block booking is valid until Friday, 21 March 2014. Participants are invited to proceed with their bookings as soon as possible.
The conditions are as follows:
- Hilton Guest Room Single: 14,100 ISK per guest per day (Approx. 90 EUR/ 125 USD)
- Hilton Guest Room Double: 16,100 ISK per guest per day (Approx. 100 EUR/ 140 USD)
Breakfast extra 2600 ISK per guest per day (Approx. 16 EUR/ 22 USD)
Participants pay and organise their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
There are direct flights into Reykjavik’s Keflavík International Airport from: London Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton, Copenhagen, Stockholm Arlanda, Frankfurt Main, Oslo, Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles De Gaulle, New York JFK and many other European and international airports.
Transport to and from Reykjavik’s Keflavík International Airport
Please communicate to us your travel details and flight number for your arrival and departure. The WIP Team will then organise group shuttles to and from the airport.
If you wish to take a taxi, the fare is around 90-100 EUR/ 125-135 USD to the Hotel. Alternatively there is a bus shuttle, which is around 13 EUR/17 USD per Person.
Transport in Iceland
The Parliament of Iceland will provide a bus shuttle between the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica Hotel and the Parliament as well as to the Field Visits and the evening locations.
Individual Visitors’ Programme (Saturday, Sunday 5 & 6 April)
Hilton Reykjavík Nordica Hotel has several touristic visits on offer that can be booked on an individual basis for those participants who wish to extend their visit of Iceland to the weekend of 5 & 6 April 2014.
The conference language will be English. There are no facilities for simultaneous interpretation. Whisper or consecutive interpretation would be possible if organised by participants.
If you need any visa assistance, WIP can provide you with a personalised invitation letter. In this case, please send us a copy of your passport or full name(s), date of birth and nationality.
Please also have a look at the following website, which provides further information as to where and at which embassy/consulate in your country you can apply for a visa for Iceland: https://visaguide.world/europe/iceland-visa/where-to-apply/
In the framework of WIP Study Trips “Field Visits”, in cooperation with the hosting Parliament, will provide participants with first hand insights into local projects exemplary for gender equality and female empowerment in business, society, public institutions, research facilities, etc. Such on-site visits should break with gender-stereotypes, showcase extraordinary achievements and provide inspirations for participants to foster similar initiatives in their home country.
Field Visits in Iceland
Field Visits during the WIP Study Trip to Iceland will take participants to some of the biggest companies of the country. They will usually include a meeting and discussion with the CEO and a tour of the factory (if possible).
- Rio Tinto Alcan Iceland Ltd – Aluminium Smelter
Straumsvik, P.O. BOX 244, 222 Hafnarfjordur, www.riotintoalcan.is
Meeting and Discussion with Ms Rannveig Rist, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan Iceland
- Actavis – Pharmaceutical Company
Reykjavíkurvegi 76-78, 220 Hafnarfjordur, www.actavis.is
Meeting and Discussion with Ms Guðbjörg Edda Eggertsdóttir, CEO of Actavis
- Lýsi – fish oil company
Fiskislod 5-9, Reykjavik, www.lysi.is
Meeting and Discussion with Ms Katrín Pétursdóttir, CEO of LÝSI
- Steinunn – fashion label
Grandagarður 17, 101 Reykjavík, www.steinunn.com
Gender Equality in Iceland:
- Information on Gender Equality Issues in Iceland
- The Global Gender Gap Report 2013 by the World Economic Forum
- Women in politics: Iceland (Background note by the European Parliamentary Research Service)
General Information about Iceland: