Reykjavík Dialogue

The Reykjavík Dialogue takes place 16–18 August 2021 and is hosted by the Icelandic government in co-operation with the City of Reykjavík and the Nordic Council of Ministers. This international event is organised in collaboration with RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference at the University of Iceland.

The Reykjavík Dialogue is devoted to renewing activism to end gender-based violence. The event consists of a conference which is followed by a dialogue where activists, practitioners, and survivors from around the world will together set an agenda for work to end violence against women and girls.


The Conference
The agenda starts with the conference on 16–17 August with both in-person and virtual participation. All sessions are open to registered participants. The conference will focus on survivor-centred justice by exploring how to advance traditional as well as non-traditional pathways to justice. As part of demands for state and perpetrator accountability, the goal is to investigate the different dynamics of deep-rooted issues of gender-based violence and sexual harassment. The conference brings together activists, survivors, practitioners, academics, and policymakers for panel discussions, which will include the following themes:

Restorative, Transformative, and Community Justice
Colonial and Racial Historical Legacies and their Impact on Feminist Justice
Mainstreaming Intersectionality in Strategies for Changing Judicial Systems
Revitalising Traditional Justice Systems


We have always known and argued that different forms of gender-based violence are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. We know that the real agenda for elimination must be accountable to the survivors of abuse, it must learn from them and deliver to them. So, we ask: How do we ensure our visions of elimination remain centre stage? What does a broad and relevant frame of justice look like to survivors? How do we envision life free from violence and strategize for change? How do we continue to disrupt, undermine and transform oppressive power structures that replicate the inequalities at the heart of violence?

In the Reykjavík Dialogue conference we explore how the meaning of justice in cases of sexual violence is usually equated with criminal justice. However, such a narrow interpretation of justice has proved to be unsatisfactory for survivors of sexual violence. Taking survivor-centred justice seriously demands the rethinking of different justice mechanisms and the creation of different political, social, and legal pathways to justice, while taking into account that survivors are differently situated in relation to class, race, nationalities, gender, sexualities, and abilities. To address the “justice deficit” in cases of sexual violence, the conference will explore how to develop traditional and non-traditional pathways to justice as part of our efforts to hold the state and offenders to account.

In order to address these issues, we bring together activists, academics and policy makers for panel discussions with the aim of informing the work of the subsequent Reykjavík Dialogue.

Recordings from the conference are available on Youtube.


Conference Chair

Giti Chandra

Welcome Address by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Iceland’s Prime Minister
Introductory Address by Purna Sen, Member of the Advisory Group
Conference Inaugural Address by Irma Erlingsdóttir, Director of RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference




Steinunn Gyðu- og



Angelique Nixon
Clare McGlynn
Hildur Fjóla Antonsdóttir
Islah Jad
Jessica Mandanda
Julia Downes
Sotheary Yim

Restorative, Transformative, and Community Justice

To address the “justice deficit” in cases of sexual violence, this panel will explore how to develop non-traditional pathways to justice as part of efforts to centre survivors in the process of justice building, where judiciary and due process either fail the survivor or do not respond adequately to their needs. The panel will include discussions on kaleidoscopic justice, survivors’ justice interests, criminal and civil justice, administrative justice, labour and employment laws, restorative and transformative justice, engaging men, and community-based action.

Address by Clare McGlynn

Recording from Panel 1



Marai Larasi


Abena Busia
Kalpana Wilson
Magdalena Grabowska
Stella Nyanzi
Tatjana Latinović

Colonial and Racial Historical Legacies and their Impact on Feminist Justice

Histories of colonialism, imperialism, slavery, among other racial oppressions are nearer than they appear in time and their legacies continue to impact feminist struggles. Central questions such as what is defined as woman-ness itself in a context where women marginalized by race have been excluded from the conversation, to the difficulties of having a shared understanding of what race means in the feminist struggle against gender-based violence, need to be critically thought through. Thinking about black or women of colour feminist politics is not rooted in African and Caribbean, Indian and South Asian, or Dalit and Adivasi feminisms and decolonial approaches, while diasporic voices carry an unequal degree of visibility. How can these histories be recognized and these practices be incorporated into an understanding of the harms that continue to be perpetuated in contemporary feminisms? The panel will include discussions on rage and radical rudeness, facing the backlash, bodily autonomy, Asian colonial gender legacies of violence and penal codes, caste, and funding and donor relationships founded on colonialism and its legacy.

Address by Kalpana Wilson

Address by Stella Nyanzi

Recording from Panel 2



Brynja Elísabeth Halldórsdóttir


Brisa De Angulo
Linda Gusia
Lori Campbell
May-Len Skilbrei
Michelle Daley
Myriam Sfeir
Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir

Mainstreaming Intersectionality in Strategies for Changing Judicial Systems

Gender injustice is facilitated by intersecting structures of oppression. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s formulation draws attention to the many ways in which intersectionality demands a feminist agenda informed by an analysis of multiply oppressive systems political influence, economic status and geographical locations, as well as racial, sexual, and ableist norms, social privilege and other salient identities, structures, and contexts. Effectively addressing the gender justice gap requires inter-positional solidarity. How do we provide and create spaces for dialogue and developing feminist practices across positionalities? The panel will include discussions of justice with respect to people with disabilities, indigenous women and queer people as well as intersectional approaches, intergenerational equality and differences, and access to justice for marginalised and vulnerable peoples.
Address by Michelle Daley

Address by Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir

Recording from Panel 3



María Rún Bjarnadóttir


Jane Townsley
María Sjöfn Árnadóttir
Mary Anne Franks
Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir
Stina Holmberg
Védís Eva Guðmundsdóttir
Vrinda Grover


Revitalising Traditional Justice Systems

Decades of feminist work have built a system of due process, which survivors can access. Yet, in recent years, it has become clear that this system has either failed or been unresponsive to the needs of survivors. What has been done to correct these gaps and failures of the traditional justice system? How can the law and its processes be changed, modified, or otherwise reinvigorated so as to continue to be relevant to the ongoing endeavour to respond to the global crisis of gender-based violence? This panel spotlights efforts being made in this regard by the State, NGOs, legal practitioners who have helped change the system, and activists and academics holding the system accountable.

Address by Jane Townsley

Address by Vrinda Grover

Recording from Panel 4



Halla Gunnarsdóttir


Abena Busia
Islah Jad
Linda Gusia
Lori Campbell
Marai Larasi
Purna Sen

What Are the Takeaways?

Panelists and audience discuss how the conversations have helped produce shared feminist foundations of justice and solidarities, which will allow feminists to chart a course of future action towards the achievement of the common goal of eradicating gender-based violence.

Recording from Plenary Session

 All addresses and panel recordings: