Monday, 21 January, 2019

Iceland Legalizes Equal Pay Marking Big Step Toward Ending Gender Pay Gap

Construction workers at the site of the Aurora Observatory in Karholl northern Iceland Iceland Legalizes Equal Pay Marking Big Step Toward Ending Gender Pay Gap
Nellie Chapman | 12 January, 2018, 19:42

The gender pay gap improved by a meager 0.5 percent in 2016 from 2015.

On January 1, Iceland implemented a new law to require employers pay women equal wages as men for the same job, becoming the first country to legally ban pay discrimination on the basis of gender, Al Jazeera reported. Companies that don't comply will have to pay fines. The Global Gender Gap Report uses factors such as economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival to calculate the state of gender equality in a country.

New legislation was passed Monday that would fine companies and government agencies with at least 25 employees who fail to obtain government certification of equal-pay policies.

"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organizations ..."

Celebrities including actress Patricia Arquette and former professional tennis player Billie Jean King applauded Iceland on Twitter.

Iceland has topped lists for gender equality.

The new law was passed - perhaps not coincidentally - a year after female candidates won almost half the seats in Iceland's parliament. "Equal representation benefits everyone!"

'It's a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally, ' she told Al Jazeera.

Data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the worldwide organisation of parliaments, showed women held 23.6 percent of seats in 193 parliaments on September 2017.

The new rules don't mean that companies must pay everyone doing the same job the exact same salary. Anti-gender-gap activists cried foul, but administration officials said the form provides undue burdens on business without achieving the desired effect of equity.

Iceland has been at the forefront of fighting gender inequality for years.

According to the 2017 World Economic Forum report, the top five countries for gender equality are Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden.

The statement came following an investigation in October 2017 that revealed women working at Holyrood are paid significantly less than men.