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Coffee Talk

#55 – Reykjavik Global Forum: How Does the Rising Cost of Living Impact Gender Equality?

Lightning round. In this week’s Coffee Talk, Henrike von Platen and Margrét Bjarnadóttir talk about the Reykjavik Global Forum – Women Leaders,  which was held in Reykjavík on November 13-14, 2023. At the Forum, each session was short—and Henrike moderated an 18-minute session with four panelists on a particularly urgent topic: The rising cost of living.

Reykjavik Global Forum 2023

A panel of four significant leaders took part in the session:

  • Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
  • Ebony Young, Deputy Borough President, Queens, City of New York
  • Christina McKelvie, Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Scottish Government
  • Dagur B. Eggertsson, Mayor of Reykjavík

The session focused on three main, burning questions—asked and answered at lightning speed:

  • How is the rising cost of living impacting women?
  • What are the broader societal implications of gender equality in this environment?
  • What policies and actions can be enacted—like equal pay or parental leave—to improve conditions?

Each participant had one minute to answer each of these three questions, describing the approaches their countries and organizations have taken, and can take, to address a problem of such a massive scale.

Women have felt the impact of global inflation the most; they already have lower wages, made worse by increased costs. If fair pay and measures to support the care economy were to become the norm, and we realized Planet Fair, real lives would improve immeasurably. The economy can begin to heal, to equalize, under these conditions. But policies only go so far.

In another notable session, Icelandic Businesswomen: Successes and Challenges, Henrike learned that sentiment about women in positions of power, particularly young women, has worsened. The panel consisted of six women whose journeys to director and C-level positions were, in general, non-linear and whose backgrounds were very diverse:

  • Iða Brá Benediktsdóttir, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Arion Bank
  • Tanya Zharov, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Alvotech
  • Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Deputy Chief Executive, Landsvirkjun
  • Arna Grímsdóttir, EVP, Legal Affairs, HS Orka
  • Halla Hrund Logadóttir, Director-General, Iceland's National Energy
  • Sylvía Kristín Ólafsdóttir, Chief Operating Officer, Icelandair
  • Chaired by Þóra Arnórsdóttir, Director of Communications, Landsvirkjun

Surrounded by so many accomplished, gifted leaders, how can we encourage trust of these extraordinary women?

In part, Henrike posits, by leading by example.

Watch the Coffee Talk below to learn Henrike’s key takeaways from these two excellent panels!

To watch Henrike’s session, surf over to and watch day one, starting at 5:16:00.

Friday Coffee Talk from Planet Fair is a podcast/videocast series co-hosted by PayAnalytics founder Margrét Bjarnadóttir and Henrike Von Platen, founder and CEO of the FPI Fair Pay Innovation Lab in Berlin. It is available through all podcast platforms as well as on YouTube as a videocast.

#58 - Introducing Structured Pay Equity Analysis

Systematic bias is stubborn. Demographic pay gaps can still remain, even after companies do a pay equity analysis and give raises to underpaid employees. But based on recent research by Margrét and her co-authors, there’s a better way to close the gap: structured pay equity analysis. Margrét and Henrike discuss in this week’s coffee talk.

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