More Icelandic women are headed to Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, following Saturday’s election, than ever before, Vísir reports. Thirty out of Alþingi’s 63 members will be women, or 48 percent.
Based on 2013 information from the World Bank, Iceland now most likely ranks fourth in the world on a list of countries with the highest proportion of women in parliament. Rwanda tops the list with 64 percent of parliamentary seats held by women in 2013. Andorra is second with 50 percent, followed by Cuba with 49 percent. Globally, women account for an average of about 20 percent of MPs.
In the 2013 election in Iceland, 25 women were elected to parliament, making up 39.7 percent of MPs. During the term, four women replaced male MPs, bringing their ratio in 2015 to 46 percent.
Women are in a majority in the party groups of Bright Future, the Progressive Party and the Left-Green Movement, but the gender ratio is even among Pirates.
On June 19, 1915, Icelandic women, age 40 and older, were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections and to run for a seat in parliament. In 1895, Icelandic women had first officially demanded the right to vote by submitting a list of 2,000 signatures to Alþingi. Their voting age was to be reduced by one year every year until they would be equal to men in that respect in 1931. Thanks to an agreement with Denmark, Icelandic women didn’t have to wait that long, though. In 1920, they were able to vote at the same age as men.
The first Icelandic woman to be elected member of parliament was Ingibjörg H. Bjarnason, in July of 1922. No woman was MP 1942-1946, nor 1956-1959. Before 1983, there were never more than three female MPs at a time.
Not until 1983 did the ratio of women in Alþingi surpass 10 percent, when nine women were elected. Since then, their ration has steadily increased.