A symposium on gender and power in Icelandic politics and business will be convened on Friday the 15th of January by the Center for Women‘s and Gender Studies at the Univeristy of Iceland (RIKK), the National Center for Gender Equality and in collaboration with EDDA – Center of Excellence. The findings of the Icelandic research group of the Nordic research project Gender and Power in the Nordic countries will be introduced and discussed. The project was commissioned by the Nordic Gender Equality Ministers and carried out by the Nordic Gender Institute during 2008-2009. The Center for Women‘s and Gender Studies coordianted the implementation of the project in Iceland.

In the Nordic countries, there is currently a relatively extensive knowledge basis within gender and gender equality research, focusing on gender representation and power structures within politics and business. However, the project Gender and Power in the Nordic Countries is the first of its kind where scholars and researchers have compiled and anaylsed this material from a comprehensive Nordic perspective by means of a comparative approach. The purpose of the project is also to produce knowledge to support the political decision-making process and to emphasize gender equality measures that influence the mechanisms behind structural power. An important aim of the project is to identify and illuminate opportunities for improved gender balance in decision-making bodies and for more space for political action in relation to increased gender equality.

While women in the Nordic Countries have made some considerable gains in the political arena, the picture is less bright when looking at the business section and the entire management structure in listed companies. There is a shortage of women in CEO positions and in management teams in the Nordic Countries, apart from Norway which has introduced a quota aimed at increasing the numbers of women in boards of companies. However, a government bill for a quota in boards of companies has now also been introduced in the Icelandic parliament.


Opening remarks by  Mr. Árni Páll Árnason, Minister of Social Affairs

Dr. Guðbjörg Linda Rafnsdóttir, Professor of Sociology: “Gender and Power in Icelandic Business and Economic Life”

Ms. Rósa Guðrún Erlingsdóttir, MSc. Political Science: “Women’s Political Participation and the Development of the Icelandic Equal Rights Law Framework”

Panel Discussions: After the findings have been introduced, a panel consisting of representatives from the political and business arena will respond to the research findings.

Facilitator of Panel Discussions: Auður Styrkársdóttir, Director of the Women’s History Archive.

Chair: Irma Erlingsdóttir, Director of EDDA – Center of Excellence and Director of RIKK.