Iceland has made a bold and significant start to 2018, by bringing in new laws which forbid companies to pay higher salaries to men over women.
The equal pay legislation, which was ushered in on Monday (January 1st), now makes it illegal for anyone to pay unequal rates to men and women. This makes it the first country in the world to legalise equal pay.
The rules now state that any business or company which employs over 25 people will now have to correspond with the government, ensuring that they are compliant with the new legislation.
Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association spoke with Al-Jazeera about the new ruling:
“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.
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.”
The station also reported on the increasing rate of gender equality in the country over the past few years:
For the past nine years, it has been ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the world’s most gender-equal country.
The Global Gender Gap Report uses markers such as economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival to gauge the state of gender equality in a country.
Since the reports began in 2006, Iceland has closed around 10 percent of its total gender gap, making it one of the fastest-improving countries in the world.
Celebrities such as Moby have taken to social media in praise of the ruling.