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Women’s Rights Day Celebrations

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Women’s Rights Day Celebrations

A wreath on the grave of Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir.

A wreath on the grave of Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir. Photo: Reykjavik.is

Today is Women's Rights Day in Iceland and the occasion is being marked by various events throughout the land, reports mbl.is . In Reykjavik, a floral wreath will be laid at the grave of Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir in Hólavallakirkjugarður cemetery at 2:30 pm by Líf Magneudóttir, president of the Reykjavík City Council, who will also make a short speech.

Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir played a major role in the early women’s rights and women’s suffrage movement in Iceland. She founded the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association in 1907 and was the chairperson up until 1928, according to the Reykjavík City Council website. The goal of the Association was to ensure that Icelandic women received full political equality with men—both the right to vote and run for public office, as well as the right to employment under the same conditions as men.

On June 19, 1915, married women received the right to vote and stand for office in Reykjavík and Hafnarfjörður, thereby gaining political independence from their husbands. By that point, widows and unmarried women had already had the right to vote for about a quarter of a century. Two years later, women in other municipalities received the same rights.

Other events today include the 50th anniversary celebration of Kvennaheimilið Hallveigarstaðir, an institution built in 1967 that houses several women’s groups and associations. The celebrations will commence at 4 pm at the institution located at Túngata 14 in the center of Reykjavík. Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir, chair of the housing committee, will give a speech and President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson will give anniversary greetings.

In Akureyri in the north of Iceland, the Center for Gender Equality is offering a women's history walk that follows the footsteps of women who left their mark on the town. Kristín Aðalsteinsdóttir, a former professor, will lead the walk, which sets off at 5 pm from the lawn outside Café Laut in Akureyri Botanical Garden. All are welcome to attend.

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