Iceland Becomes First Country in the World to Legalise Equal Pay
Companies employing 25 people or more must prove their equal pay policies through government certification or face hefty fines.
January 03, 2018
The Icelandic Government ushered in the new year with a legal first when, on January 1, it became the first nation in the world to outlaw unequal pay for women. Any company or government agency that employs 25 people or more must prove their equal pay policies through government certification or face hefty fines.
"[They] evaluate every job that's being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association, told Aljazeera.
Even before the passing of the law, which was announced on International Women's Day 2017, Iceland was ranked number one in the world for gender equality according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2017. (In case you're wondering, Australia came in at 35, while New Zealand took out 9th spot). Iceland's current leader, Katrin Jakobsdóttir, who was elected in November 2017, is the nation's second female Prime Minister — and since 2016, women have held 48% of parliamentary positions.
"I think that now people are starting to realise that this is a systematic problem that we have to tackle with new methods," said Aradottir Pind. "Women have been talking about this for decades and I really feel that we have managed to raise awareness, and we have managed to get to the point that people realise that the legislation we have had in place is not working, and we need to do something more."
The Icelandic Government is hopeful that the gender pay gap won't exist beyond 2020. Here's hoping other countries around the world start to follow their lead.
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