Politicians’ sexism taped
Recording went viral after being posted, spurring nationwide outrage in Iceland
Many Icelanders are calling for the resignations of a group of politicians who were secretly recorded in a bar using sexist and obscene language about female colleagues, including making disparaging remarks about a former member of Parliament who has a disability.
The politicians — including former prime minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, former foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson and a female minister, Anna Kolbrun Arnadottir — met at a bar called Klaustur two weeks ago in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, ordered beers and spent more than three hours talking.
A man sitting nearby overheard the conversation, made a recording with his cellphone and sent it to the news media.
The recording went viral after it was posted online last week, spurring nationwide outrage in a country that has a female prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and that prides itself on its gender equality record after topping the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index for several years. This year, a law was passed that requires companies and government agencies to prove they are paying men and women equally.
Some of the politicians who were recorded have apologized.
Sveinsson, the former foreign minister, who has a reputation for being a champion of women’s rights, is heard on the recording mocking a female lawmaker for coming forward as part of the “Me Too” movement and laughing at domestic violence accusations made against a former member of Parliament.
Some in the group expressed a desire to sleep with particular female colleagues. One person warned that one such woman could not be trusted because she “plays on men like women know best.”