A recent article in the New Yorker shares photographer Annie Ling’s photo series on independent mothers of Iceland. The photographs, titled “Independent Mothers,” depict a personal glimpse into the lives of Icelandic women living as single moms. The pictures are currently on display in Akureyri. Although the women’s daily schedule as mothers does seem tiresome, it appears that being a single mother in Iceland is simpler than anywhere else. In fact, two thirds of all children born today in Iceland are born out of wedlock. Why is that?
Perhaps women don’t feel that they must be married to feel secure as mothers. In Iceland, parents receive nine months of paid leave after a child is born and have access to affordable daycare afterwards. If a woman becomes a mother in Iceland, it is possible for her to live independently without completely struggling. Iceland has also been ranked #1 in the world by the Global Gender Gap Index, meaning the country’s is the best place in the world when it comes to gender equality. . Being a working mother in Iceland without a partner is a totally plausible lifestyle.
Ling has another idea on why being a single mother is a happier experience in Iceland than elsewhere: “These women aren’t getting judgment from the outside,” she says, “So, because they’re accepted, they’re much more at ease in their situations.”
This accepting and relaxed attitude towards women is based on a long history of equality in Iceland. This year marked the 35th anniversary of Iceland’s election that made Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the first female president in Europe. Iceland also just celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage, and is recognized as the first nation to have an equal number of men and women involved in government. Hopefully other nations can look towards Iceland, the happiest country for women, and follow in its footsteps.
Check out the gallery of beautiful portraits by Annie Ling here. And for more by the artist, view her captivating photographs of Icelandic scenery here!