June 23, 2011
Women flocked to Fjardaál on Women’s Rights Day

Never before have so many women visited Alcoa Fjardaál as on the recently celebrated Women’s Rights Day, the 19th of June, when the women of East Iceland were invited to the company’s canteen for a celebration. Now, for the fourth year in a row that Fjardaál calls to these festivities, more than two hundred women attended, enjoyed refreshments, and listened to music and speeches presented by Fjardaál employees.

The record attendance indicates that Alcoa Fjardaál has created a popular tradition in connection with the Women’s Rights Day, when the women’s suffrage in Iceland – acquired on June 19th, 1915 – is celebrated. The fight for the right to vote had been going on for a long time before that date, and the battle for women’s rights is still ongoing.

Jóhanna Seljan from Fjardaál’s HR team, sang, and Andri Bergmann played the piano. Speeches were given by Freyja Yeatman Ómarsdóttir, operator in the casthouse, María Ósk Kristmundsdóttir, computer specialist on the IT team, and Tómas Már Sigurdsson, director of Alcoa in Iceland.
Freyja told the guests about her complicated background: she has an Icelandic father and her mother is from New Zealand. She and her sister lived for the most part in Australia with their mother. Freyja also related that she is about to go on an Earthwatch expedition in China as an Alcoa representative - and she is looking forward to this great opportunity.
In her speech, María Ósk discussed the experience of being a parent, which she said is the largest project she has dealt with in her life so far. María Ósk also wondered why women’s rights still have to be fought for, and she encouraged women to go on battling for their rights, the rights of their daughters and coming generations.
Tómas Már compared a good company with a home which relies on strong women. One fourth of Fjardaál’s employees are women, which is a higher percentage than in any other Alcoa smelter in the world. Tómas encouraged young women to seek education, and to join the workforce of Alcoa Fjardaál.
Alcoa Fjardaál received the Gender Equality Award in 2008.

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Mother and daughter

María Ósk Kristmundsdóttir (right) gave a speech and encouraged women to fight for their rights, the rights of their daughters and coming generations of women. Her mother, Jóhanna Sigmarsdóttir, pastor in Egilsstadir (left) was one of the guests.

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In good company

From left to right: Helga Dröfn Ragnarsdóttir, Jitka Hamrova and Sveinbjörg Karlsdóttir. They were all working on the shift on Sunday, but took a break to join the guests in the canteen.

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Pink drinks

Tables were decorated with pink flowers and (non-alcoholic) pink cocktails were served. Hjördis Helga Seljan liked the festivities, and her sister, Jóhanna Seljan, on the HR Team, sang for the guests.