The power of protest in Iceland
On October 24, 1975, the women of Iceland refused to work, cook and look after children for a day. Five years later, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a divorced single mother, won Iceland's presidency - the first female president in Europe and the first woman in the world to be democratically elected as a head of state. She beat three male candidates that year, and was so popular she remained in the position for 16 years.

"What happened that day was the first step for women's emancipation in Iceland. It completely paralyzed the country and opened the eyes of many men," says Vigdis (in Iceland people are referred to by first name). "Things went back to normal the next day, but with the knowledge that women are as well as men the pillars of society. It completely changed the way of thinking."

Since then, the 63-member parliament has grown from three women to 28. Almost half of board members of listed companies are women, while 65 percent of Iceland's university students are female. Yet the country still has a long way to go for full equality: only 22 percent of managers are women, 30 percent of experts on TV are women, and women still earn around 14 percent less than men.

To speed up progress on the pay gap, each year since 2005, on October 24, Icelandic women have left work when their work is free compared to men. In 2005, that was 2:08. In 2016, that was 2:38.
Source: Women in the World, The Guardian, BBC News Magazine

On the other hand
Worldwide efforts to close gender gaps in pay and increase numbers of women in the workforce slowed so dramatically in the past year that men and women may not reach economic equality for another 170 years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in October. The United States ranked 73rd in political empowerment, which measured the ratio of men to women in the highest levels of political decision-making, the WEF said. The U.S. ranked 45th in the global list overall.
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Biking for freedom in Iran
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa banning women from riding bikes. "Riding bicycles often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women's chastity, and it must be abandoned," he claims. A week before the ruling, he expressed his belief that a female's "only role and mission" in life is to be a good mother and housewife. In response, women across the country are filming themselves riding bikes and posting the results on social media, using the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

This isn't the only recent government action designed to keep women in their place with restrictions on freedoms. Since 2013, laws drafted include limiting access to birth control, discrimination against unmarried women applying for jobs, and making divorce more difficult even in the cases of domestic abuse.
Source: Ms. magazine


Women Wage Peace In Israel/Palestine
A core group of 20 Israeli women set off on a protest march to Jerusalem from northern Israel to demand that the Israeli government restart a peace process with the Palestinians. By the time they reached the city of Jericho in the West Bank, the core group was joined by more than 3,000 others, including about 1,000 Palestinian women. The group, which calls itself Women Wage Peace, is made up of women from across the political spectrum and the religious divide. At a rally at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's formal residence, many held banners reading, "Right, Center and Left are all calling for an agreement, Women Wage Peace."

"We are not an organization; we are a movement. We have defined goals, and when we reach those goals we will disband," said Marie-Lyne Smadja, a co-founder of the group. "From history we have seen that when women are involved in resolving conflicts, there was much more success."
Source: Washington Post