Progress in the fight for women’s equal rights

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Iceland abolishes the gender wage gap
By Carmen Loren
Iceland is the first country in the world to prohibit by law the practice of men being paid more than women for jobs of the same category. At the beginning of 2018 this law came into force, and it establishes that salary differences by gender are illegal in both private and public companies with more than 25 employees. Before this law, Icelandic women were paid an average of between 14 and 20% less per hour than their male colleagues who had the same job category and equal studies. After years of struggle and demonstrations led by women, the government has finally taken action. This new law requires companies to submit audits and has established fines for those that do not end the gender wage gap. Companies must work to obtain a salary equality gender certificate that the government will require them to have.

Iceland has a woman Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and she has set 2022 as the deadline to end the inequality of salary between men and women. Experts on social equality hope that this Icelandic legislation will encourage other countries to follow suit. A report published in 2017 by the World Economic Forum says that Iceland leads the world in gender equality. This shows how when women take power they create alternatives to the old patriarchal culture, and make great progress in many areas including gender equality, sexual harassment and abuse.


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