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Why Work Is So Much Better for Women in Iceland
Flexible working arrangements are a pillar of the company. For example, Kristinsson took parental leave and time off with his 1-year-old son. “If this had not been the case, I definitely would not have gotten to spend as much time caring for him and getting to know him, and as such, wouldn’t have gotten to contribute to his upbringing in equal amounts as my partner,” he said.
More widely, the company takes advantage of work-life balance initiatives such as doing activities outdoors and being active together. This past summer, the team went on an impromptu whale watching trip.
Like many people in Iceland, Kristinsson believes the United States could learn from the country’s maternal and paternal leave policies. “In Iceland, it’s not frowned upon if parents decide to take up to a year off work to take care of their newborn,” he said. “Iceland was one of the first countries to introduce such equal parental leave, even ahead of Sweden and Norway.”
For some in Iceland, moving away and returning reminded them about what the country offers in terms of gender parity. Linda Mjöll Stefánsdóttir traveled back and forth between Iceland and London for several years before deciding to settle back down in her native country. She opened up accommodations made from upcycled buses and materials so that visitors can connect to the land. She says visitors often include very strong-willed women who are independent.
For Stefánsdóttir, the arrangement allows her to be her own boss while also allowing visitors to connect to the land.
“I always missed Iceland,” she said. “It never stopped singing in my heart.”