iceland equal pay: reykjavik

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Iceland becomes first nation to require proof of equal pay

What a day to do it, too.


David Covucci


Posted on Mar 8, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:22 pm CDT

On International Women’s Day, while one North Atlantic country paid lip service to the event, another proposed monumental legislation in favor of women’s rights.

Iceland plans to introduce legislation—which currently has bipartisan support and is expected to pass—that will require companies with over 25 employees to prove to the government they provide equal pay for equal work. The legislation covers pay for people of all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities. The goal is for the law to be on the books by 2020, and for the pay discrepancy between people to end by 2022.

“You have to dare to take new steps, to be bold in the fight against injustice,” Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said. “We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that.”

A protest in Iceland in October received widespread attention when women across the country walked out of their offices at 2:38pm, a 14 percent shorter work day than normal, reflecting the 14 percent less they make relative to their male colleagues.

Amazingly, that still-large discrepancy puts Iceland, according to the World Economic Forum, as the most equitable nation in the world relative to gender.

Iceland is believed to be the first nation to introduce such legislation.

H/T Huffington Post

Update 2:20pm CT, Jan. 2, 2018: As of the new year, the legislation has officially become law, according to Al Jazeera. “We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now, but we still have a pay gap,” Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, told the publication. “It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally.”

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*First Published: Mar 8, 2017, 4:39 pm CST