Iceland Just Proved How Seriously It Takes Equality For Women

Photographed by Nina Westervelt.
Pay attention, world. Iceland is schooling everyone on how women should be treated in the workplace.
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On International Women’s Day, the small Nordic nation announced what might be one of the most progressive steps toward equal pay anywhere in the world: new legislation has been introduced that would require employers in Iceland to show proof that they’re offering equal pay for equal work, The Associated Press reports.
Of course, the policy will benefit women, but it is also a victory for other groups, as it requires employers to pay everyone no matter their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality — equally for doing the same job.
According to the AP, government officials said the legislation will be introduced to parliament later this month. If passed, Iceland would become the first nation in the world to adopt a measure of this kind.
All employers, in both public and private organizations, would be required to obtain a certification proving they offer an equal salary for the same roles if they employ more than 25 staff members.
Iceland is already the most gender-equal nation in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016. But women in the country still earn between 14% and 18% less than their male counterparts, on average.
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That's why the Icelandic government is aiming to close the gender pay gap by 2022. (A new study has suggested that the gap could potentially be closed in developed markets by 2044, but it could take 170 years to achieve real pay equality worldwide.)
According to the AP, Social Affairs and Equality Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said "the time is right to do something radical” about the issue of the gender pay gap.
"Equal rights are human rights," he said. "We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that."
Damn straight. Now, if only other countries in the world would follow in Iceland's footsteps. What is everyone waiting for?
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