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Those ugly things
1 Jun 2010
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“This is what empowers me: To feel what is not as it should be and then do something about it. That is to be empowered. That is to change the world.”

Guðrún Jónsdóttir. Icelandic national expert to the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Observatory on violence against women, co-founder and spokesperson of Stigamot, the Icelandic counseling and information centre on sexual violence in Reykjavik, and chairperson for the board of Skotturnar, an umbrella organization for Icelandic Women’s NGOs. She is also the former executive director of both the Norwegian Shelter Movement and the Women’s Alliance in the Icelandic Parliament. Interviewed June 2010.

Those ugly things

In 1988, I decided to go to the women’s shelter to look into the world of violence. The day I went into the shelter, I cried. I cried for twenty-four hours. I had never realized those ugly sides of women’s lives. That was such a shock to me that I have never overcome it.

I have been active in the fight against violence since then. My family and I, we went to Norway where I was supposed to take my PhD in biology. Only, I never could. Instead, I became a social worker. Everything I did in my studies was to better understand violence.

Instead of doing traditional research, I created a network of Nordic women’s shelters. I did some research on the work of women’s shelters in the Nordic countries and I found out that they were all doing amazing work but didn’t communicate with each other. So I created a network. Since then, we have met every year and have all kinds of working groups.

After I finished my studies, I worked for three years in Norway and was the executive director of the shelter movement in Norway. I was their coordinator for three years. Then I decided to come home to Iceland.

From ’99 I have been here in Stigamot.[1] In house with my sisters here, we are an incredible team. Even though we are working with the ugliest sides of women’s lives, the good part is when women decide that they want to have better lives, amazing things happen.

We see the magic almost every day. Women put away the shame and guilt and low self-esteem, those awful things that they should never have, and start to activate the strong parts of them. The empowerment of women here is something that I think is fantastic. Also the preemptive work, the education and training, all of this is something that I love.

You never know what will happen in the day. We have more than 600 people coming to Stigamot for help. More than half of them are people coming for the first time, the other half are people who come here year after year. Everything we provide for our people is free. We have counseling hours and counselors here. We don’t have any traditional treatment but this is self-help. These people are experts in their lives. They’re not sick. They’ve been subjected to brutal things but they are healthy people. They are able to get better hold of their lives.

The red thread in our work is help to self-help. It can be very tempting to tell someone how to run her life, but I am not in her life. She is in her life. I would not give her any advice but try to help her find out what she herself thinks is best for her. The main thing is to activate the lioness in herself. 

She is the expert of her life. Nobody else can ever be the expert of her. It’s not easy. But that is the magic. I will respect her, accept her, and try to get her to realize that she has choice. If she has the courage, she can. Nobody can change what she has experienced but it’s hers to decide what she does with that experience. Can she get rid of the shame and guilt and can she try to remember, does she have a dream? What kind of dream does she have? It could be about very little things in the beginning. What could she do to change her life?

That is the core of what we do here. We try to look at Stigamot as a greenhouse for women, facilitating their own growth. They have to grow by themselves but we do what we can to make them flourish.

I should also say that we are dealing with incest, rape, and the porn industry as a whole, which means pornography, prostitution, and trafficking. Because we are also dealing with incest, we are meeting grown up people that are subjected to violence. Men come here too. They are welcome. About ten percent of those who come to us are men.

We are also working in cooperation with all kinds of nice men. There are even groups of men who are feminists. The latest supporter of ours was something very surprising: The Futbol Union of Iceland. I have often said that we have to change the thinking pattern of men. We have to involve men in changing rape culture. I have said, “If only the idols from footbol were saying what I am saying, people would understand me.”

Then, there was this huge scandal because one the leaders of the Footbol Union went to a strip club abroad and spent millions of Icelandic Krona of the Footbol Union. It was such a scandal, they lost face. The nation demanded that this man who had abused the money be fired. He was not. They also realized they had lost respect and trust from people. So only a few weeks ago, one of the leaders came to me and said, “We want to do right. We want to work with you. We want to show that we have good sides.”

I knew this is what we needed. Ninety-five percent of those who attend footbol matches are men, so this will be men talking to other men about violence. They are going to use the “Red Card” against sexual violence and male violence against women. They use the footbol heroes, and they use the national games, which are shown on TV, to talk about sexual violence. This is something unexpected. It’s also an opportunity.

Another example, one day we were angry because people always talk about men’s violence against women as if it’s a women’s issue and doesn’t concern men. We wanted men to be on the agenda. We want them to be responsible, so we created boxers. They say, “I am responsible.” This has been a Christmas gift from mothers and sisters for men. I want them to wear this. This is one of the things I want the footbol heroes to wear. I have given such boxers to the head of police— he says he wears them—and some MP’s too. Some men become very funny in their faces when they accept these gifts.

Of course, violence is the ugliest side of our gender unequal society. We have huge amounts of violence here. Compared to other Nordic countries, Iceland is on top, which means that we have the most violence. With one exception and the exception is Greenland. In Greenland, the social situation is horrible. There, about fifty percent of the population seems to have been molested. But if you forget Greenland, compared to the other countries, we seem to have a bit more violence than the other Nordic countries.

However, the reality is that we don’t know the true picture of violence. Statistics do not necessarily mean that rape is getting more common than before. It might mean rapes are reported now and the difficult cases are coming to light. It might be because we are a little community, and it’s easier to know about the rape crisis shelter. Another explanation could be because we are strong women in the Nordic countries. We are a threat to men and therefore we should be punished or raped or violated in some way.

Also, the gap between reported rape and sentences is getting larger and larger. The figures are going up while the convictions are not. The justice system does not work in those cases, which to me is completely unacceptable.

The other thing is that the debate about violence all over the world has been about “violence against women” as if there are no perpetrators. They are not visible. They are not reported. They are not on the agenda. Therefore, the shame and guilt and low self-esteem of the victims is serious. Those are the feelings of a perpetrator. I want perpetrators to be on the agenda. I want the justice system to do its work. We are supposed to live in a state of justice.

My feeling of justice is very strong. I cannot accept or tolerate injustice. I don’t want to do that. Sometimes we get those awful cases, something that makes angry and worried, and we don’t have any solutions and we sit at the kitchen table downstairs and cry about this awful world. We talk about this horrible violence that this or that woman was subjected to. But I don’t allow myself to dwell on it for a very long time. I have to feel my anger. I have to feel that I don’t want things to be as they are but then I say, ‘Stop crying, woman. Do something about it. You cannot change that this woman was raped in this awful way, you cannot change that, but at least you can make sure that she can get the best service ever. You can do whatever possible so that the law will work. Do whatever possible to prevent this from happening again.”

This is how I love to think. Yes, we don’t have the same salary as men. That makes me furious. Am I going to cry about it? No, I am going to change the world. Yes, we have violence in Iceland. Am I going to sit here and cry about it? No, I’m going to educate men. I want to change them. I want to empower women and I want to have the ideal laws. I want a justice system that works. I want the services needed.

This is what empowers me: To feel what is not as it should be and then do something about it. That is to be empowered. That is to change the world.

To look for solutions is something that I really love. For instance, before the collapse of the economic system, we were seven women working in the house. We didn’t have room for everyone. We had a lot of people coming and we thought, “We should have a bigger house. We can’t afford it. Bloody hell, this house is too small.”

So we sat here and complained about it, and then suddenly I said, “Well, what do you do if the house is too small and you want to do the work? You can’t afford a bigger house because you don’t own the house? Then get out of the bloody house!” Get out of the house to women! That’s what we did. We visited women in institutions, in prisons, in the psychiatric ward, and women with disabilities. We visited them where they were.

Also, sometimes the phone rang and a woman called me from the North or West or East. I knew I was of so little help. We were only in Reykjavik. In those small communities, you can’t have a service because everyone knows everyone. Women won’t use it. So she’s calling from the East and I hear her crying and nobody’s helping her. She’s eating sleeping pills and depressants and she’s alone.

At the same time as we found out our house was too little, we decided: Go to the women. We hired a bus. We filled the bus with women and some men. We traveled around the entire island. We got the mayors of the villages to commit to having a meeting. We went to the women.

After that, we opened services in six new places around Iceland, which consists of our counselors visting the places regularly and leaving with the secrets. This is one way of being empowered. There are so many things that need to be done, and we find creative ways of doing it.

When we find solutions, I love my work. All the support we get from people who we never dreamt would accept us, that is what I love. I have learned that the support we have in this work comes often from surprising actors. Sometimes I’m completely sure that we’ll get funding or support from a politician. I count on her supporting us and she doesn’t. She doesn’t want to be involved in those ugly things. She doesn’t want to be involved in feminism. Then, there comes an old, conservative man and he does something that makes me love him.

This is something that is cross-sectional, which has fantastic sides and awful sides.

The hard part and awful part of my work is when we don’t find any solutions. But still we have managed to do all kinds of things. We have managed to do things that women in no other place on earth have done: To close down the strip clubs and get through the message that the porn industry is a form of sexual violence to all women.

I think the most difficult and tough time was when I started to fight the strip clubs. I lived in Norway and came home in ’96 and suddenly we had those strip clubs. They kind of just popped up.

In Iceland, in this micro-community with only 330,000 people, you cannot open brothels. It’s impossible. One of the key things in pornography and prostitution is the secret, the business of security. The men need to be able to buy women without being caught. That was difficult in environments like Iceland. Instead, the main way they carried out trafficking and prostitution in Iceland was these so-called “strip clubs.”

In the beginning, there were thirteen clubs, as many as in Copenhagen, and they brought in women from poor countries abroad to work at the clubs. In one year, there were at least one thousand foreign women passing through Iceland as a so-called “artist.” She didn’t have to pay taxes. They brought them in, they had them for a short period of time, and they got rid of them quickly. That way, the women would never tell the secrets of their buyers.

Those clubs had many signs of trafficking. We have examples of completely illegal contracts where they took away the flight tickets from the women. The women had to pay rent that was many times more expensive than we would do in Iceland. They had to serve customers of the club owners for free in “private dancing.” They only got the salary before they left Iceland and only if they had done everything right. If you didn’t do exactly as the club owner told you and if you didn’t keep silent about what happened at the club, you wouldn’t get paid. 

One of the club owners admitted on TV that he locked up the women for eight hours after they finished work. He said it was to protect them but of course he was protecting his own business. At the clubs, the main income came from this “private dancing.” This was a lousy excuse for what was really happening, which of course was prostitution.

The women would not define themselves as being involved in trafficking. They would say that they were themselves to blame, that they were awful, dirty women doing things they shouldn’t be doing. They are filled with shame and guilt and low self-esteem.

Here, we do not distinguish between women in forced prostitution and the “happy hookers” who choose to be in prostitution. We refuse this distinction. The way we learned about prostitution was through the women coming to Stigamot. Almost all of them came here because of incest or rape. If they began to trust us, they told us that they had been or were in prostitution. That was the most shameful thing. They taught us those links: That most of the women from prostitution have history of sexual violence.

Also if you read carefully through the Palermo Protocol[2] on trafficking, it is trafficking even though the women know what they are going to do, if those who sell the women use their vulnerability. In my mind, the strip clubs of Iceland have built their income on trafficking.

I’m sure it’s possible to find women that enjoy being bought and sold and feel power and get orgasms after orgasms day after day. We’ve just not met those women and knowing that the majority of women don’t feel that way, we think we have to prioritize their interests, which is that this is not dignified work. This is something they do because of lack of other choice, even though the women try to convince themselves that this is ok while they’re doing it.

They do this because of violence that happened to them before or because they don’t have a real choice of something else. I was taking part in projects in the Baltic States where the women mainly came from, and I knew that the situation there was awful. They didn’t have a social system. If you didn’t have an education, if you were a mother with child and no husband, you didn’t have any choices. Their hidden unemployment was huge. Salaries were nothing compared to the West. These women were very easy targets.

This is something that Stigamot has really been fighting all this time.

When I publicly started to criticize the strip clubs, it caused a huge response. We had a thousand foreign women. That means one foreign woman for every hundred Icelandic men. You can imagine how huge this was and if you add that each woman had to serve many men to be profitable, this was something that was normalized.

When I started to criticize it, I was hated and got some threats. Some of the women working with me didn’t dare to go along with me. I didn’t have the back-up that I needed. Not only the club owners but the government criticized me awfully. The authorities attacked me for saying what was really going on.

Now, I’m glad to tell you that now we have adopted the so-called Swedish model which means to criminalize the buyers of women. It’s now illegal and this spring, it was also decided to close down the strip clubs. The last club has to close not later than the first of July. This has made world news amongst the women’s movement and people have asked me, “How did you do that? Then you are criminalizing the women.” But we are not. The law says that it’s forbidden to earn money from nudity of staff, so it means that the clubs are illegal, not the women.

Of course, there are no permanent solutions. I’m not so naïve that I think that by criminalizing buyers I will stop prostitution from happening. That won’t happen. The market, the demand is huge in Iceland and they will continue, and they will find other ways. There will be other forms because so many men are willing to buy women. Of course they will. But we will fight that.

I have also realized that you can get men to work with you as long as you talk about rape and incest and trafficking. They can accept that. When you move into pornography, you are pushing their limits. They will not work with you. Media will not. Then I get the message, “Now you have gone too far. Stop it. We want our pornography. We think pornography’s OK.”

I had a huge fight because there was supposed to be a hundred and fifty representatives from the most trafficked porn sites in the world on the internet in Iceland for what they called “snow gathering.[3]” They didn’t choose Iceland from all of the other countries in the world because of its nature but because of its nightlife. They were going to meet and do business here on the 8th of March in 2007. They were going to produce porn. They were going to bring the porn stars with them.

When I looked at this on the net, I could see the faces of the producers, the links to the sites. There was hardcore pornography, child pornography, all kinds of flirting with incest and trafficking. So I wrote a letter to the government, all members of government, to all parliamentarians, to the municipal authorities, of course to media and to police, the same letter, showing the faces of the men. I put in pictures from their websites of these small girls wearing the message, “I love my daddy.” These pictures were from the porn industry. I showed the links to the porn sites, urging those people in power to stop this and prevent this from happening. If this would happen, we were stepping into a new level of porn.

I reminded those in power that we were an island and if we didn’t want this to happen, we could stop it.

It was taken up in the parliament, in the city council of Reykjavik and by the police. It started a huge debate, which ended in the hotel canceling the booking for those people. They didn’t come to Iceland. This was our first big victory, and we drank champagne here at lunchtime.

This was a turning point. The porn industry can’t survive in daylight. Just by showing this, we got the whole nation with us.

Of course, we got such hate mail. Organized hate mail and we lost the support of the guys in media after that. This was too far. They thought it was fantastic with a little bit of porn. In the beginning it was the hardest thing. I remember I didn’t sleep at night. I had this pain in my stomach. I knew this was something so hard to do, and I was putting my hand in the mouth of the lion. I wanted to give up.

Once, a man called me and told me he knew about my daughters. My husband was abroad at the time. I got frightened. If you threaten my daughters, you will frighten me. Many men called and said, “Don’t try to stick your fingers in this. Let this be. You will not fight this. There is so much money. There is so much power there.” Believe me, there was all kinds of corruption. Then, we got more and more support, and now we have really made some victories.

Now I have also been in this for twenty-two years, so I am getting very tough. It’s not often that I break down. Most of my colleagues have been here for ten years or more and we have a psychologist that comes in and supports us. We have this group consolation where we receive personal and collective support.

Sometimes, some of us start to cry. We take in matters that surprise us. Often, we can deal with the cases without crying. We can see the justice, and we know what to do. Very few things surprise us after all this time. But it’s that, “Today I was hurt by somebody and my protection doesn’t work.” When we begin to analyze it, it seems that something in the case reminds you of yourself or your daughters or your sisters, something that you experienced yourself. You are fragile and your protection isn’t as it usually is.

That is often something we have to work on. But I am not working with individual clients anymore. Most of my time goes to the political work. Also, I have continued with all kinds of projects with Nordic and European colleagues and internationally, so it has been fantastic time.

Another one of the things that makes my work so interesting is that it’s so new. In so short a time, we have realized all this violence.

In ’85, I read the first Icelandic article about incest possibly being a problem in Iceland. Before that, you had the complete conspiracy of silence. A few hundred years ago, women were drowned in Drekkingarhylur [4] if they got pregnant, raped, or were subjected to incest. Not long ago, it was horrible for women to talk about the injustice.

For example, my mother does not know who her father is. This is the secret of my family. It’s a taboo. We’re not supposed to talk about it. That makes me always fascinated about what happened to my grandmother. Was she raped? Was it incest? Was it maybe her father? Because she went to Germany, was this Hitler? What on earth happened to her? I will never know.

This has been the taboo of my mother’s life that she doesn’t know her father. It was impossible for my grandmother to tell my mother. I hope it would be different today. Still, my grandmother broke out of the impossible situation she was in. She did break with traditions. She went abroad and studied and did things that women really were not supposed to do.

Also, my mother, she broke with the traditions. My mother was an unhappy housewife but one day she said, “Bloody hell, I don’t want this. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to die unhappy or am I going to do something about it?” She did something about it. When she had raised us six children, she began to study and took her university degree. She made a professional life. That’s what my mother and my grandmother showed me: That it’s possible.

Should I mention another example of a strong woman? Malla, who was a great friend—she’s dead—she was one of those fire-women in the women’s movement. When she died, something happened inside me. I felt that I had to carry on her work as best I could because she wasn’t here anymore. That was my solution to the grief.

Another woman here died, Kristin. She had been in prostitution, a courageous, brilliant woman. She’s the person who taught me more than anybody else about the myths about the happy hooker. She gave up and took her life. For a long time, I was just in shock and couldn’t work. Then I decided to take her on. I can feel her sitting on my shoulder. When I feel weak and that I want to give up, I remember those two women and I carry them. So I turned my loss into gain by taking them on.

There are also my sister and my daughters. I have three daughters. One of them, Sóley, she is the most criticized feminist in Iceland by the anti-feminists. The feminism has been personalized in her and her fight. She’s a politician. She has been through awful times but she is enormously strong. She’s really paving the way for other women, but it’s at a very high cost. I’m always very afraid for her because I’m her mother. Why didn’t I just give her a Barbie doll and teach her to be a nice girl?

Another woman I admire would be Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir,[5] who was one of the first feminists in Iceland, hated in her time, loved by us now. Also, Guðrún Jónsdóttir, who created Stigamot, she was really the head of us. She’s fantastic, creative, strong woman. I think she’s one of those who has influenced me most not to give up, not to sit there and cry, to do something. She made the feminist magazine Vera. My name is Guðrún Jónsdóttir, her name is also Guðrún Jónsdóttir. We were both in the Women’s Alliance, and we were both here, and we are both social workers. I have followed in her footsteps again and again.

I am a woman of all kinds of privileges. I have a strong mother, I have five sisters, and I was in a girl’s school with brilliant women where I learned to work. I am innovative, I’m creative, and I love to activate the grassroots. I like to see the grassroots as an instrument. I have also managed to put aside all tradition. I hate traditions. I hate the answer, “This is how it’s always been done.” I want to forget about how things are and just think of the future as a blank paper where I can think, “How would I like the world to be? How is it possible?”

Sometimes it frightens me because I know I am an extremely strong woman. I can see it sometimes in the faces of other people. But it's also very useful in what I’m doing because I so strongly believe in what I’m doing. I’m so lucky to do work that is so important. It can change so much in a women’s life.

I also think I really know happiness. I am very good at enjoying my life. I can feel happiness in the small things, in everyday things. I’m good at making every minute fun, to see the funny things and the possibilities in everything. Many people think it’s crazy to like working with violence but I do. I see the possibilities. I look for ways to improve. I look for ways to find solutions to things that are not as I want them to be. I’m often very angry. I make all kinds of mistakes, but I manage to turn problems around and find new ways to solve them.

But I am a complicated person. Another strong part of me is my love of nature. When I was studying and practicing biology, I felt I was the luckiest woman on earth. Then, I was also a fighter. I had a big mouth. I took the lead. I’ve never been easy to manage. This part has taken over, but I also have this other part of me, which is the nature child.

Being strong in this fight, I can go back to nature. Whatever I do, whenever I go outside Reykjavik, I become a whole person and I think, “Ah, now, I can continue my work.”

What I have managed to do is to keep the child within me alive, the playing part of me. I am able to play. I remember my mother saying that when I was a child I was never bored. That is the art of living, and I think it’s a blessing. Every time I go to work, I open the door, “Yes, this will be a fantastic day.” 

I also like to go home. I have a good family, a supportive husband. We are a loud, fighting family, but we love each other. I have always known that I have been loved. I think that is extremely important. Not everybody knows that they are loved.

For these things, I get all kinds of reactions. From envy, jealousy, people trying to shut you down, to women getting afraid of you. I often feel that other women feel that, “Wow, she’s so strong.” I feel a lot of admiration from some women. It’s not only pleasant admiration. Some women want to live through you, to take some of your strength in themselves. From men, I feel a growing respect. Some men have told me that they are afraid of me. I think in a positive way because they respect me. Mostly, I feel respect. I also have, for instance, the knight’s cross from the president. I’ve got awards for my work.

I sometimes get afraid of myself. I get afraid, and I say, “How strong can you be?” But because I’m getting older, I’m beginning to enjoy my experience and knowledge from life. It’s mostly good, but I try to be aware that I can frighten other women, that they can feel weak because of my strength. I would not like that. I try to use my strength to empower other women.

Still, I tend to idealize the women’s movement because that’s how I survive in it. There are many fantastic sides of it but then there is also power struggle among women. We can be very ugly to each other in an invisible and unspoken way.

That is how the Women’s Alliance ended. In 1985, I started as a coordinator for the Women’s Alliance in Iceland. That was a life-changing experience because we were doing something that had never been done. We had to walk a way that had never been walked before. Whatever we did would be criticized and whatever we did not do would also be criticized. We were a huge group of fantastic women.

Then, some women got so much power that to maintain the power, they had to turn their backs on the other women. If you become a mayor of Reykjavik, as one of us did, you wouldn’t be there if you continued to talk about feminism. When you stop talking about feminism, the other women feel betrayed. But no matter how she would have behaved, it would have been wrong. This is the double punishment of women.

For example, in 1987, we had a great victory and won ten percent of the votes. They wanted us to get into power but we were not supposed to change anything once we got there. Our policy was not supposed to be active. That destroyed us. We had the choice to go into government and not have any influence or not to take any part in government and be accused of being cowards. Whatever we would have done, it would have been wrong.

But hope? What gives me most hope? Times like, for instance, the women’s strikes. It was life-changing when, in 1975, I stood in the center of Reykjavik with 25,000 other women—my daughter went with her father on job—and I stood there and I looked around and I felt this enormous strength by joining forces. I knew we would find ways to channel it.

That women’s strike in Iceland was in ’75 and ’85 and again in 2005. In 2005, we calculated if women and men had equal salaries on the whole, we should only do our share. At 2:08P.M when we had worked 63.5% of the working day, we stood up and took the day off. Fifty thousand women gathered in Reykjavik.

Now, we have decided to do it again in 2010. We have just calculated the wage gap in 2010 and the strike will happen at 2:28P.M, so we have gained 20 minutes, which is fine but we are not working from 9-5 as we should be.

This time we have created an umbrella organization of the whole women’s movement in Iceland. We are fifteen organizations, the biggest, the most radical, the youngest, the respectful housewife, everybody is gathering and we have created this umbrella. We call it Skotturnar. Skotturnar were the ghost of women that you couldn’t put down and they had Red Stockings, so that’s what we call ourselves, and I’m the chair of the board of this umbrella organization. This is my heart now to do this.

All groups of women are uniting for this: Artists, musicians, actresses, poets, writers. We will have exhibitions all around the city. I hope we’re going to turn a light on. This is something that I think is unique worldwide, this cooperation, this solidarity, this engagement of all women for their rights.

That is also the magic, standing there together, touching on the solidarity. I know that you can change the world. I know. And I have done it a little bit. I can’t accept some things as they are. I have done something about it. That makes me happy and, well, good moments are something I carry with me.

I know that good moments are there. The grassroots in Iceland is pretty strong. If you call out to the women, they will come and join you. I know that and also more and more men.

[1] Stigamot: The Icelandic counseling and information centre on sexual violence in Reykjavik, Iceland.

[2] Palermo Protocol: The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children holds ratifying states to a commitment against trafficking. It promotes assistance for victims and cooperation between states in trafficking prevention. It aids in the creation of national anti-trafficking strategies.

[3] Snow gathering: Porn producers’ conference in Iceland that was cancelled due to public outcry.

[4]Drekkingarhylur : Drowning pool in which women were put in sacks and drowned.

[5] Bríet Bjarnhéðinsdóttir: An early Icelandic advocate for women's liberation, she founded the first women's magazine in Iceland, Kvennablaðið, served on the Reykjavík city council, and founded the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, which fought for the suffrage of Icelandic women.


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