Frequently Asked Questions
As the strike draws closer, many have questions about the rights of strikers and the intended perimeters of participations. Here are some frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us.
Why a Women’s Strike?
The first Women’s Strike took place on 24 October 1975 and in 2023, we strike for the sixth time since then. The Women’s Strike has also been called the Women’s Day Off (Kvennafrí) and has sometimes entailed women striking for part of the day. This year, we strike for the whole day, just as women did in 1975. Systemic wage discrimination still affects women, and gender-based violence is a pandemic that must be eradicated. We cannot wait any longer for actions.
Is it a strike or a holiday?
The 2023 Women’s Strike is neither a strike in the legal sense, nor a holiday. The Women’s Strike is a collective action to fight for equality, and workers participate to the degree they can and want to. Women and non-binary persons are in very differing situations, and we encourage those who can to participate in the strike.
How do I participate?
Women and non-binary persons, who can, stop all work on that day, both paid and unpaid work. This includes childcare, household chores, and other responsibilities related to the family or home. They are also encouraged to attend a demonstration meeting in Arnarhóll (Reykjavík) or other demonstration meetings around the country, and to show solidarity in action.
What if I cannot strike?
Many women and non-binary people work jobs that are essential, such as some jobs in health care, service to disabled people, elderly people, or other marginalised people. We enourage these essential workers to show support by getting a friend, or a family member, to take part on their behalf, and/or to use the hashtag #kvennaverkfall on social media
Do I need to notify my supervisors if I intend to participate?
Women and non-binary people work different jobs and their work situation varies. If you can and feel confident to participate, please do. Some women decide, out of courtesy, to notify their supervisors beforehand, and some decide to ask for leave.
What if my employer is opposed to the event, or says I will lose wages if I participate?
Historically, employers have supported women, or at least not prevented them from participating, on this date. Employers have plenty of time to organise the work so that women and non-binary people don’t have to come to work on 24 October. In some cases, employers might be opposed or imply that women will lose pay if they don’t come to work on that day. In such cases, every person has to decide for themselves if they stop work, and risk the consequences in their workplace. We invite people to report anonymously the employers who prevent their female and non-binary workers from participating in the strike: Report.
Will I get payments from a strike fund?
The trade unions’ strike funds do not pay wages for participation in the Women’s Strike, because this is not a strike in the legal sense of the word. Employers are encouraged to enable their female and non-binary workers to participate in the strike without any pay cut. In the past, employers have generally not cut the pay of women for participating in the strike.
Is it a full-day strike?
Yes, from midnight to midnight.
I am a man. Should I also participate?
Men should not strike on 24 October but they are expected to show their support in action by taking on additional responsibilities in the home, both regarding childcare, and at work by taking on tasks or shifts to enable female and non-binary colleagues to participate in the strike. We expect that some schools will be closed, since a majority of the workers will be on strike, and fathers will therefore have to make arrangements for the day.
Is it strike-breaking if someone takes on my work?
No. Workplaces are encouraged to organise the work in such a way that women and non-binary persons can participate, and that sometimes means having male workers replace the striking workers.
Why are non-binary persons encouraged to participate too?
Non-binary persons and women are both marginalised by the patriarchy, their contribution to society is undervalued, and they are much more likely to suffer violence than men.
Is this strike only for Icelandic women?
The strike is for all women, and non-binary persons, working in Iceland, including immigrants who work here. Immigrant women and non-binary persons who can strike are encouraged to do so.
Who will take care of my child on that day?
We expect many schools to close or have reduced opening hours during the Women’s Strike. Those who can, must rely on fathers or other male relatives to take care of the child/children for that day. Not every child has a father and not all fathers are present, of course. Unless otherwise stated, children are welcome to the demonstrations meetings, girls and boys. If you cannot leave the childcare to a male person on that day, we encourage you to participate on social media with the hashtag #kvennaverkfall.
Why can I not take care of my children?
You can of course do what you want. We are simply asking for society to stop and notice women’s contribution to society. Who takes on the majority of household chores, and who takes on the mental burden of organising tasks, remembering them and distributing them? Women do these unpaid jobs to a much greater extent than men.