Iceland Is the First Country to Legalize Equal Pay for Women

Breaking news: Iceland just became the first country in the world to make it a firm requirement that women earn the same amount as men.

Or perhaps the breaking news is actually the shocking realization that no other country has addressed this global issue adequately before now?

However you want to take it, Iceland deserves applause for this exciting progress.

True to form, itís the country thatís already doing the best in this area thatís most committed to eradicating the wage gap. Although the World Economic Forum ranked Iceland as the best country in the world in terms of gender equality, women in the island nation were still earning about 16 percent less than their male colleagues, leaving ample room for improvement.

While some other countries have passed laws to address the wage gap, none have spelled out ways to verify salaries are equitable as well as punishments for not adhering to the law quite so clearly and strictly. In Iceland, companies with at least 26 workers will have to file paperwork to actively prove how their salaries are equitable for employees of all genders rather than putting the burden on the government to demonstrate discrimination.

Politicians introduced the plans for these new rules on International Womenís Day in early 2017. In addition to ensuring that women are paid equally, the law also protects workers from other marginalized groups (people of color, LGBT people) in the same manner. Thatís intersectionality in action, and itís great to see no workers being left behind.

Believe it or not, the legislation is not just the work of bleeding heart liberals Ė the majority party in Iceland actually leans a little right of center and supported this unprecedented step toward progress.

As ThinkProgress points out, this outcome is ďan example of what happens if you actually elect women.Ē Unlike most countriesí legislative bodies, Icelandís is comprised of just about 50 percent women. Not all that surprisingly, it looks like laws that benefit women get passed when women have a voice in government.

Hopefully, other countries will be watching Icelandís ideas and putting them into practice, too. Saying that women should be paid equally to men (as the United States does) is great, but as the ongoing (though slightly narrowing) wage gap indicates, it is not nearly the same as devising a system to ensure that salaries reflect that policy.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

86 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad Anderson6 months ago

Thank you.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R9 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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DAVID fleming
Dave f9 months ago

Thank you

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Janis K
Janis K9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Danuta W
Danuta W9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Sonia M
Sonia M9 months ago

Good news thanks for sharing

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Louise A
Past Member 9 months ago

thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya W9 months ago

Thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya W9 months ago

Noted

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