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Women in the City Council Spotlight

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Women in the City Council Spotlight

Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir

Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir is the first Person of Colour to hold public office in Iceland, as well as the youngest ever to sit on Reykjavík City Council. Photo: Borgarbókasafnið/Facebook.

Women are in the spotlight at the first meeting of Reykjavík’s City Council since the May 26 election. The group meets for the first time at 2.00pm today, June 19, which is celebrated as Women’s Rights Day in Iceland. On this date in 1915, women (over 40) first gained the right to vote and the right to run for parliament in Iceland.

Women are in the majority on the newly-elected council, which will be presided over by Pirate Party councillor Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir. She is the youngest ever to occupy the post. Not only will today’s session be Dóra Björt’s first as council president, it also happens to be her 30th birthday.

“This is of course Women’s Rights Day, June 19th, and there will be a record-high ratio of women to men who are sitting on the city council,” remarked Dóra Björt in an interview yesterday. “Then it’s our mayor’s birthday, and I will turn 30. So it’s just a big day.”

There are 54 items on the meeting agenda, which Dóra Björt says is unusually many for a first council meeting. “Usually there is just voting on leadership and committees, so this will be a little different.”

One of the women elected to the new council is Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir of the Socialist Party of Iceland. Sanna is the youngest person ever to serve as city councillor in Reykjavík and the first Person of Colour to serve as an elected official in Iceland. Seven of the items on today’s meeting agenda are proposals of hers, one of which is abolishing additional remuneration city councillors receive for meetings during working hours. Sanna’s other proposals include forming committees made up of members of vulnerable groups such as social housing tenants and public transit users.

The meeting begins at 2.00pm and can be streamed live on the City of Reykjavík website.

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