Iceland is the First Country to Make Companies Prove They’re Paying Equal Wages

by Laura McMahon

Following yesterday’s celebrations of all ladies around the world, this is icing on the cake. We’re sending props to Iceland today, which has become the first country in the world to make employers prove that they offer equal payment to their workers irrespective of their ethnicity, gender, nationality or sexuality.

The progressive and frankly awe-inspiring legislation was brought about yesterday on International Women’s Day. The policy would demand all businesses with more than 25 employees to provide certification that they give equal pay for work of equal value.The government said it aims to introduce this legislation to parliament later this month. Did we mention that this is a parliament that is almost equally made up of female and male lawmakers? Brava to our distant Nordic neighbors.

Other countries, as well as the state of Minnesota, have implemented equal-pay policies for employers, but Iceland is the first to make it obligatory across both the private and public sector.

Female workers in Iceland staged a protest in October of last year in opposition of the country’s 14% gender pay gap and it seems they’re doing something right. In the recent glass-ceiling index outlined by the Economist measuring gender equality in the labor market, the country ranked highest in providing the most equal working environment for women.

Icelandic Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson spoke at the HeForShe Arts Week 2017 press conference this week and uttered the only words we long to hear from a man in a power suit: “Gender equality benefits all of us.” Swoon.

We’re hoping this proposed legislation is just the ice-breaker needed to kickstart the rest of the world into a frenzy of glass-ceiling smashing.­

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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