Iceland has become the first country in the world to legalize equal pay for men and women; the legislation on its first day of 2018 passed a new law making it illegal to pay men more than women.
According to the law passed on Monday, companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies.
The organizations who fail to prove pay parity will face fines, reports the Aljazeera. "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," said Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association.
"It's a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally," she told Al Jazeera.
The new legislation was supported by Iceland’s centre-right government, as well as the opposition, in a parliament where nearly 50% of all members are women.
Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, told the Aljazeera that the law was basically a mechanism to ensure that organizations evaluate every job and get a certification for it.
She said for decades the Iceland legislation had been talking about equal pay for men and women but the pay gap was still prevailing in the country.
Iceland is an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and houses approximately 323,000 people. It has a strong economy, based on tourism and fisheries.
For the past nine years, Iceland has been ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the world’s most gender-equal country. According to the latest WEF report, the top five best performers in the global gender gap are Iceland, Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden.
Yemen, on the other hand, is currently the lowest-ranked of the 144 countries measured in the report. Hungary was the only European country to be ranked lower than the global average, having scored poorly on political empowerment.
Factors like economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival to gauge the state of gender equality in a country are taken into consideration in the Global Gender Gap Report.
Iceland closed around 10% of its total gender gap since the Global Gender Gap Report started in 2006.
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