“We are doing this for equal pay,” party leader Gudrun Schyman told the assembled crowd of media and onlookers in Visby on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland on Tuesday morning.
The burning barbecue stood on a platform on Hamnplan in the city with a Fi banner as a backdrop declaring “We set fire for democracy”.
100,000 kronor in 100 kronor notes was then carried in a clear plastic bag to the burning fire and Schyman then proceeded to set alight to the cash.
“Discrimination against women is allowed to continue year in and year out. It is one of the biggest scandals in our democracy that neither the parliament, government or social partners do more for the human right to not be discriminated against because of their gender,” Schyman said after the last of the money was placed on the fire.
Schyman explained that the money had been donated by two men who had chosen the course of action to illustrate the amount of money that women lose per minute due to discriminatory pay.
The party claims on its website that a full-time salary for a women employed in a comparable job to a man is 4,700 kronor less, a total of 70 billion kronor per annum, or around 100,000 kronor per minute.
“I can understand that many are outraged by this. Many will say that there are plenty of worthy causes to spend this money on. But we are not a charity, we are a political party,” she said.
The charismatic party leader explained that the alternative could have been to “burn” the money on a half-page advertisement in a national daily but argued that lighting a barbecue and burning the money directly would have more of an impact.
With a well-attended Hamnplan in central Visby, and headline news in all the major dailies overnight, and on Tuesday morning, Fi’s 100,000 kronor calculated gamble would have appeared to have paid off.
Sweden’s Riksbank confirmed on Tuesday that destroying currency is not illegal. Until 1980 there was a law that forbade the destruction of coins but this law is no longer in force.
Watch as Gudrun Schyman and Fi burn 100,000 kronor: