9th Annual Weight Stigma Conference

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Reykjavik adds ‘weight’ as a protected category to equality regulations

Edited: This legislation was passed in 2016 but an English translation has now been made available.

The City of Reykjavik has just added body size to the list of characteristics that must be used as a means of overt or unintentional discrimination in its Human Rights Policy. This fantastic news comes as a result of the tireless work of activist Sigrún Daníelsdóttir, founder of Body Respect Iceland, eating disorders campaigner, author of children’s book Your Body Is Brilliant, and host of the amazing 2015 Weight Stigma Conference. The mayor of Reykjavik gave the opening address that year, and it was discussions arising out of this that led to the new policy.

Reykjavik joins Santa Cruz and San Francisco CA, Madison WI, Urbana IL, Washington DC, Binghampton NY, and the state of Michigan in forbidding discrimination based on weight or body size. Efforts are underway to introduce similar legislation in other states and countries.

But the Reykjavik declaration goes further than banning outright discrimination. It requires that in its role as a public authority, employer, and service provider consider weight diversity when making policy decisions and in the provision of its various services, such that higher weight people are not unintentionally disadvantaged by structural or systemic inequalities built into everyday life, and that the city and its employees do not inadvertently promote negative attitudes or stereotypes about higher-weight people. It also explicitly states that NGOs concerned with body respect must be consulted when their input might be relevant.

To read the exact terms of the policy statement, click here.

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