The last time people took notice of Iceland was when its entire economy went bust during the Great Recession. Now, it is in the news for an entirely different reason. Recently, it became the first country to ban any business profiting from nudity of employees. That means no strip bars and topless dancing. The ban is based not on religious but feminist grounds. Almost half of Iceland’s legislators are women, including the prime minister. Steinunn Valdis Oskarsdottir, a Social Democrat lawmaker, was quoted as saying, “Women who work at strip clubs are in many cases the victims of human trafficking and other kinds of abuse. I have been working in this field for almost 15 years and not yet have I met one woman who dances at strip clubs because she wants to.” Everyone is now trying to predict the impact of the ban. Would it merely shift a profitable venture underground, increasing exploitation? Or would it prevent female exploitation at a time of economic hardship? With a tiny population of 320,000 roughly, Iceland could just become a playground for feminist economists.
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