Inclusion and its dependence on free labour of foreign women
Our organisation has a seat on government and municipal committees and is often invited to meetings and workshops where immigration issues are discussed. Additionally other organisations, such as the union movement reach out to us to participate in organising events, such as the Women’s strike today. Except for a 20% office staff all our board members are volunteers, which means they take time off work for these meetings. They usually take place during working hours and most of the other attendees are government, city or union officials, who are there as part of their job. Only one of these meetings compensates our representative for their labour. Most of the time, our representative is the only person of foreign origin present. This creates a great pressure on our representative, not only to attend, but also to represent a whole, very diverse community on their own.
To these institution our participation is a way to present themselves as inclusive. However, the question needs to be asked, why there are almost no staff of foreign origin in these institutions? While we appreciate the intersectional approach in this years Women’s strike we would have liked for the union movement to reflect on inequality in their own institutions. While the prime minister participating in the Women’s strike is fun, it would have been nice if she would have taken the opportunity to discuss the employment practices in the ministries and other government institutions. There is no lack of qualified women of foreign origin in Iceland, we should not have to provide free labour to get a seat at the table.
Varaformaður / Vice chair