TikTok remembers the day 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike: ‘It was total chaos’

TikTok is obsessed with the time nearly all of Iceland’s women went on strike — and changed the course of their country’s history. 

On Oct. 24, 1975, 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike to show how essential they were to society. It was known as the “Women’s Day Off.” They ditched their jobs, housework and even child care, leaving men to fend for themselves (and their children). And it turns out when women take a day off, things get crazy. Or, as TikToker @fluence.co pointed out in her video on the subject, “It was total chaos.” 

“The economy shut down — basic life broke,” @fluence.co said. “Hospitals, schools, nursing homes, grocery stores — they all either shut down or operated at half capacity. It was kind of like COVID-19. And the men had kind of a terrible time.” 

With women on strike, men were forced to take their children to work, where they would bribe their kids with coloring books and candy. Grocery stores sold out of sausages because they were the only foods men knew how to cook. Men had to do women’s jobs but didn’t know how. Everything fell apart. Suddenly, women’s work became appreciated. 

“Shortly after, the first female president was elected,” she added

In 1980, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir went on to become Iceland’s first woman president and Europe’s first female president and the first woman democratically elected as head of state. She remained so for 16 years. 

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