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Icelandic women march in SlutWalk

Women in Iceland took to the streets of the capital Reykjavik on Saturday to take part in the annual SlutWalk against sexual violence and call for a judicial system that punishes such crimes in an appropriate way.

The positive way women are treated in the country has been in the headlines this year as the nation celebrates a centenary of suffrage.

On 19 June hundreds of people gathered in town centres across the country to be part of events marking 100 years of women being allowed to vote, while outside parliament in Reykjavik a statue of Ingibjorg Bjarnason, who was elected as its first female MP in 1923, was unveiled.

In recent weeks and months, Icelandic women have taken part in a number of official activities, as well as using social media sites to debate topics such as sexual violence and pornification.

This began in March with the #FreeTheNipple movement in which 17-year-old student Adda Smaradottir gained global recognition after a woman’s breast was edited out of a school magazine.

The teenager asked why it was considered normal for a man to walk about topless but not for a woman, before urging all girls to attend school braless on the “Free the Nipple Day”. She explained that she posted a bare-breasted picture of herself on Twitter which initially received “vicious” comments but later gathered lots of attention.

SlutWalk takes place in a number of countries worldwide after its inauguration in the Canadian city of Toronto in 2011. The majority of attendees are young women who often dress in a ‘slutty’ way as they aim to bring an end to excusing or explaining rape as being down to a woman’s appearance.

The movement began after Toronto policeman Constable Michael Sanguinetti advised women to stop dressing like sluts as a precaution against sexual violence.