This Country Just Became the First in the World to Ban Unequal Pay


People celebrating at work


April 12, 2024 at 9:53PM UTC
For the past nine years, Iceland has been ranked the most gender-equal country by the World Economic Forum. An amazing 48 percent of its legislative seats are held by women, and the country also recently elected a feminist mom as prime minister (when its first female head of state was elected, in 1980, it was a worldwide first).
Now, as if we needed another reason to be borderline obsessed with Iceland, its become the first country in the world to outlaw the gender pay gap.
The new legislation, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, states that all companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people must obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies. Companies that are found to be paying men and women unequal amounts will be fined.
"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations ... 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 Al Jazeera. “It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally. We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now, but we still have a pay gap.”
Over the past decade, Iceland’s pay gap has already closed by around 10 percent, making it one of the most quickly improving countries in the world. Officials say they hope to have closed the gap completely by 2020 — and this new law is sure to help them realize that goal.

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