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Iceland to Create Equality Fund

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Iceland to Create Equality Fund

Alþingi, Iceland's parliament

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

A ceremonial parliamentary debate took place at Alþingi on Friday in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage in Iceland.

The meeting was called to order at 11.00 and there was only one item on the agenda: a parliamentary proposition to create a new Equality Fund of Iceland.

The bill was passed with 61 votes in favor. One MP was absent, and one MP voted against.

The bill calls for the fund to be granted ISK 100 million (EUR 671,000/USD 761,000) for the next five years to support gender equality projects.

Projects set to benefit include those working on gender based pay gaps, gender based bullying, and domestic violence—as well as projects encouraging young people of both sexes to get more involved in community projects and in politics.

The President of Iceland and the President of Alþingi both spoke to the chamber, as well as one MP from each party.

“It is not the norm in Icelandic politics for women to be prime minister; it is not the norm for there to be as many, or more, women as men here in this chamber or in government. And women generally quit politics before men. So this is still an ongoing project and I allow myself to dream of living through such a grassroots change that it will no longer be newsworthy to hear that there will be more women voted to parliament, or that a woman will be prime minister,” the Social Democrats’ Katrín Júlíusdóttir told MPs.

At the end of the speeches and musical interludes from the choir Vox feminae, the bill was voted on. Only the Independence Party’s Sigríður Á. Andersen voted against it. Höskuldur Þórhallsson, from the Progressive Party was absent, Vísir reported.

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