In October 2016, working women in Iceland made headlines when they left their jobs at 2:38 p.m. on an average workday and gathered outside of parliament to voice their frustration with the gender pay gap. Earning 14 to 18 percent less than men (on average), Icelandic women posited that after 2:38 p.m. each day, women were working for free.
In an inspiring turn of events, it looks like government officials actually sat up and took notice: Iceland is now introducing legislation that will require all employers with more than 25 staff members to prove they are providing equal pay for work of equal value — a move that aligns with the government's intention to close the gender pay gap by 2022. NBC Washington reports:
While other countries, and the US state of Minnesota, have equal-salary certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms.
Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said, "The time is right to do something radical about this issue. Equal rights are human rights. 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."
The World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland the best country in the world for gender equality, and now the government is ensuring they live up to the reputation. Would that every country actually acted upon the idea that "equal rights are human rights"!