13th of April 2020

I’m probably not alone in thinking that the longer this Covid-19 situation persists the more difficult it gets to deal with on a personal level. We are however finally, hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here in Iceland. New cases are decreasing rapidly, and the people in charge of handling Covid-19 in Iceland are saying that some rules and bans will start to be lifted next month. Which feels great to hear.

To lift my own spirits this week I decided to take a day to travel inside my country. It was weird seeing the places I want to empty, places that are usually filled with tourists. As special and beautiful it was to see these places like that, it also gave me a jolt and reminded me how much Iceland will suffer financially from this, like all other nations in the world, and more importantly, how much people will suffer personally from all of this.

Tinna, the Reykjavík Feminist Walking Tour guide, stands on a gravel hill in front of a lagoon, filled with small icebergs, in the distance you can see the snow covered glaciers the ice bergs come from
In front of Jökulsárlón, the glacier lagoon in South-East Iceland

I want to stress that I took the utmost care when travelling. We are not on lockdown here in Iceland, so travelling is permitted. I brought my own food so I could eat in the car, I waited for a day that had good weather in order to minimise the chances of accidents, since our healthcare workers don’t need any additional stress, and I had the luxury of being able to choose to go on a work day, so there would be the least amount of people around.

Iceland this week

There have been a lot of difficult news during this period. The hardest ones without a doubt being deaths and violence caused by the current situation.

Last week two women were murdered by the hands of men in their own homes. One woman was chased into the street by a violent partner. This week it came to light that one of the women that was murdered called the police five hours before her death, but the police felt they didn’t have evidence to move the man that is suspected of killing her from his home. Our system clearly isn’t working in the favour of women, not even when it comes to basic things like saving the lives of women. (1, 2, 3)

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Jilbert Ebrahimi

After these incidents voices have become louder for people to report suspicions of domestic violence and for people that need help to seek it wherever they can. But there are still whispers in feminist groups about the police not reacting well enough or at all to domestic abuse calls and of neighbours and friends being co-dependent with perpetrators.

It is disheartening, maddening and incredibly sad that during times like this the news that most relate to feminism are about abuse against women. 

A close up of broken glass in black and white

The heroes of this situation are though, without a doubt women, and we shouldn’t forget that. Women are in majority when it comes to taking care of the most vulnerable of our societies, they are nurses, they are teachers, they are care workers etc. Still they have to fight to be compensated and taken care of properly. Nurses are still fighting to get their much deserved pay raise, a battle that has been going on for a year, but even now, an issue the government isn’t giving in on. (4)

Thankfully there is also a tiny bit of good news, last week there were stories of pensioners that are still in our workforce, not being allowed unemployment payments because of their age and their right to a pension. Obviously pensioners that are still in the workforce are there mostly for the reason of needing the money they are earning and their pension not being high enough to cover their needs, so this was a huge blow for this group. This week our minister of social affairs and equality, along with others, called for a temporary change when it comes to following laws for unemployment, and wants this group to be paid unemployment in the same manner as everyone else in the workforce. (1)

I hope next week will bring us more good news than bad <3

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