Iceland closes gender gap but violence against women remains

By , on December 12, 2017


Icelanders are experiencing a stark realization: Equal representation does not, by default, eliminate gender-based violence. (Shutterstock)
Icelanders are experiencing a stark realization: Equal representation does not, by default, eliminate gender-based violence. (Shutterstock)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — For nine years in a row, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as having the world’s smallest gender-equality gap. It has a female prime minister and some of the world’s strongest laws on workplace equality and equal pay.

It also has one of Europe’s highest per-capita levels of reported rapes, according to statistics agency Eurostat, although legal definitions differ from country to country, complicating comparisons.

A 2010 University of Iceland study found that 30 per cent of Icelandic women aged 18 to 80 reported having been physically attacked by a man at least once, including 13 per cent who reported suffering rape or attempted rape.

Icelanders are experiencing a stark realization: Equal representation does not, by default, eliminate gender-based violence.