Iceland is the first country in the world to implement the new equal pay law, making it illegal to pay men more than women.
Following an announcement of the legislation on the 8th of March on International Women’s Day 2017, the Nordic nation pledges to eradicate gender pay gap by 2022.
As of the 1st January 2018, it is illegal to pay men more than women in Iceland.
Under the new legislation, companies and government agencies with more than 25 employees will be required to obtain government certification for their equal-pay policies.
Companies failing to demonstrate pay equality will face a fine if they do not comply with this law.
“It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally,” explained Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.
“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 legislation was supported by Iceland’s centre-right coalition government, as well as the opposition, in the country’s parliament, where nearly 50% of members are female.
“I think that now people are starting to realise that this is a systematic problem that we have to tackle with new methods,” stated Ms Aradottir Pind. “Women have been talking about this for decades and I really feel that we have managed to raise awareness, and we have managed to get to the point that people realise that the legislation we have had in place is not working, and we need to do something more.”
Iceland has been ranked the best in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum for 9 years in a row. In 2017 the UK came in 15th place, with a 16.9% pay gap between males and females.