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Once again, Iceland is setting the new standard. The nation is the global leader in gender equality, topping the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for five years running.

This should come as no surprise, given Iceland’s long history of parity: equal inheritance rights for men and women established in 1850; women gaining the right to hold public office in 1908; voting rights for women over 40 instituted in 1915 and for all women in 1920.

More recently, Iceland implemented Gender Budgeting (2009) to bring visibility to gender-related impacts and to enable the re-evaluation of policies, expenditures,  and sources of revenue in line with equality objectives.

In 2013, a law took effect setting a 40% minimum of women on Boards of both public and private limited companies.

The Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Leaders, co-hosted annually by the Government and Parliament of Iceland and by Women Political Leaders (WPL) , will be digital and interactive this year (November 9-11).

Furthermore, to enhance participation despite the current pandemic-related restrictions, numerous “Reykjavík Satellite” gatherings will be held at Icelandic embassies and consulates around the world. 

These face-to-face roundtable events (convened under local health and safety guidelines) will complement the Forum’s search for actionable pathways to build a new normal where women in leadership is not the exception.

Feedback from these events will result in the Reykjavík Manual, to be launched in January 2021.

The locations of the “Reykjavík Satellites”, each hosted by its own Ambassador, will include:

Beijing, China; Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Helsinki, Finland; Kampala, Uganda; Lilongwe, Malawi; London, UK; Mexico City, Mexico; Moscow, Russia; New York, USA; Ottawa, Canada; Paris, France; Quito, Ecuador; Tokyo, Japan; Washington, USA; Wellington, New Zealand.

Many of the Icelandic Ambassadors hosting these gatherings are women – which might seem extraordinary for any other nation, but for Iceland, it’s just another milestone on the way to full equality.