22/10/2015 8:56 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST

Thousands Of Women Pledge To Strike In Celebration Of 1970s Icelandic Red Stocking Day


An Australian artist has sparked a national strike for women's rights, with more than 2900 people pledging to take this Friday off for Red Stocking Day.

Carmel Debreuil told The Huffington Post Australia she was inspired by the 1975 Icelandic Red Stocking Day, when 90 per cent of women in Iceland refused to work both in their jobs and homes, effectively bringing the nation to a standstill.

"Back then, they had an established political movement but the incredible thing about Facebook is an event like this can happen organically," Debreuil said.

"I've literally not spoken out loud to a single person about this but more than 40,000 people have been reached."

One such person is Canberra-based life and business coach at 2bawesome Toni-Maree Hannan who told HuffPost Australia she saw the movement on Facebook.

"I work with a lot of women and children who aren't in a particularly good place and I thought this initiative really aligned with my values," Hannan said.

"Friday is generally a busy day for me, but I've cancelled all my appointments and I've explained why it's an important cause for me.

"I was a senior executive in the past and I can tell you women are not paid what they're worth."

HuffPost Australia also spoke to a nurse, a public servant and a university employee who would be taking Friday off.

Debreuil said that while the response had been encouraging she didn't expect the nation to stop functioning.

"I think women and men are going to gather on Friday but I don't think Australia's going to come to a standstill," Debreuil said.

"If people wear red socks and stockings and it gets people talking about women's rights, then I'll be happy."

Carmel Debreuil painting in her red socks.