Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World by Eliza Reid:
My identities as a woman and as an immigrant are inextricable. My experience has largely been positive. Most people in this country would be pleased about that, it seems. A 2020 Gallup survey ranked Icelanders’ tolerances to immigrants at 8.41 (out of a maximum of 9), second only to my home country, Canada, in the global rankings.
But there is no cookie-cutter immigrant experience. For every woman like me who moves here with a built-in network of local in-laws and finds a job related to her education, there is another who is exploited, working for a pittance in unsafe conditions because she hasn’t been made aware of her labor rights in this country. Asylum seekers arrive with few possessions, fleeing persecution and seeking peace and stability. There are women who live here for decades and speak the language flawlessly, and others who spend mere months or years on the island, cheerfully existing in a social bubble with other immigrants and rarely interacting with the locally born population. Some become lonely living in small, seemingly homogenous communities. Others make their dreams come true with new opportunities and directions. To paint all immigrants with the same brush, assigning them the same challenges and ambitions, benefits no one.