A total of 136 Icelandic women in politics have shared their experiences of gender-based discrimination in their work environment. These stories have now been published online, with all names having been omitted.
The group is called In the Shadow of Power (Í skugga valdsins) and consists of nearly a thousand women who have been affiliated with politics in Iceland over the years.
The group has officially declared that men must take responsibility and that all political parties ought to do everything in their power to combat sexual violence and discrimination in Icelandic politics. Parties should also set in place protocols, promising women that they shouldn’t need to keep quiet and that they will get the support they deserve.
All 136 stories can be viewed here, a number of which have been translated below.
- “’There’s no place for you in campaigning,’ a stout male nominee told me. He continued. ‘You need to lose at least 20 kg, and you need to lower your voice a few decibels. Nobody wants screaming women in parliament. Then you need some sort of a sex appeal.’”
- “You know that elections are coming up when you begin to receive messages from various men who are suddenly very worried that you’ve got goals and try to convince you that your time isn’t up yet or that it’s simply passed or that there isn’t need for you right where you are and that it doesn’t pay to presume anything.”
- “I got a very good result in my first ever open primary and I ended up in second place on my list. When the results were celebrated I had a conversation with my then boyfriend and another man who congratulated me and proceeded to ask my boyfriend: ‘Ah, so you’re the mastermind behind all this?’”
- “I was drugged with a date rape drug on a national party convention. I felt so ashamed of accepting a glass of wine from a stranger and kept blaming myself for how it went and discussed it with few people, but luckily everything turned out all right, decent people who noticed I had begun to lose my balance (after two glasses of white wine). There I was in a blackout, I remember next to nothing, but luckily I was given a ride home. I’m so grateful to that couple, it could have ended disastrously. It’s so good that people are aware of these issues now, thank you for this initiative, this shouldn’t be tolerated any longer. #MEETOO”
- “A party’s youth movement. New to the party. One individual who harassed me quite a lot – ‘I’m going to sleep with you when my wife dies’. (She was pregnant – not dying).”