Iceland, the global champion of gender equality

Iceland is the global champion of equality between women and men. The WPL Annual Global Summit 2017 – titled, “We Can Do It!”  – applauds the political action of Iceland, which demonstrates that gender equality does not have to remain a theory, but can become reality.

In this spirit, the WPL Annual Global Summit provides the forum for exchange on best practices around the globe: leadership, legislation and political agenda-setting that creates results.

For eight years, Iceland has been number 1 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-gap index, which examines disparities between men and women in terms of political empowerment, economic opportunity, education and health. Find out more here.

The Summit will also provide a forum for exchange on political best practices and experiences, leading to impact on legislation and political agenda-setting.


10 milestones that matter

  • 1915 Women gain national
  • suffrage and the right to hold office
  • 1922 The first woman elected to the Icelandic Parliament
  • 1961 Equal Pay Act approved by the Parliament

  • 1975 Women nationwide take a day off on October 24
  • 1976 Equality Act approved and the Equaliry Council is founded
  • 1980 The first nationally elected female president in the world
  • 1982 The Women’s Alliance runs for Parliament
  • 1995 Equal rights of women and men stated in the constitution
  • 2003 Equal rights of women and men of parental leave
  • 2010 Companies are obliged to have 40% women or men on board



3 things that have made the difference:

  • Strong role models: 40% of MP’s are women, over 40% of members in local governments; over 60% of university students and 80% of women participate in the labor market
  • Equal parental leave: 9 months: 3 for women, 3 for men, and 3 to share. 90% of men use their right and the gender pay gap has decreased
  • Consensus from left to right: Icelandic women have in most cases agreed upon the gratest gender equality steps taken, across party lines

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, first woman President

The Summit will take place under the special aegis of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, who is among the distinguished participants.

Icelanders made Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the world’s first democratically elected woman President in 1980. Finnbogadóttir, who served longer as president than any woman from any country, also founded the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL) twenty years ago.


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