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via Twitter (@sharpseth)

Iceland’s women leave work at 2.38PM to protest pay gap

Thousands took part in the protest, leaving at the time they effectively stop getting paid compared to men's salaries

Thousands of women in Iceland walked out of work in protest at exactly 2.38PM, the time they technically stop getting paid given the country’s 14-18 per cent gender pay gap.

Protestors gathered in the capital of Reykjavik’s central Austurvöllur square, with smaller demonstrations taking place elsewhere in the country. The strike harkens back to similar action taken on 24 October 1975, when 90 per cent of women in Iceland stopped working and took a day off to draw attention to their important roles in society, at odds with the pay disparity and lack of representation in politics. Following this, the government passed a law that made wage discrimination illegal.

Back in 2005, women walked out of work at 2.08PM, and again in 2008 at 2.25PM to parallel the pay gap at the time. According to Icelandic news outlet Grapevine, less than ‘three minutes’ have been gained in the last 11 years towards closing the pay gap, meaning at this rate it will take 52 years to eradicate the disparity between genders.

Although Iceland has proved itself to be the country best for women’s equality, with women in strong positions of political power, in the education system and in employment, the gap still sees women paid 14-18 per cent less than men.

“No one puts up with waiting 50 years to reach a goal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap. It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime,” Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, the Icelandic Confederation of Labour, said in a statement to RUV.