2018 started on a heartening note in Iceland as the government made gender pay gap an offence in the country. While the bill was in formulation since March 2017, the legalisation was made on January 1 this year.

This is a groundbreaking move at a time when women the world over are fighting for equal wages. The order states that any private or government organization with a workforce of more than 25 people will have to get a certificate from the Iceland govt. proving its equal pay status among genders, reported RT News. Non-conforming institutions will have to pay a fine.

Gender equality is an intimate issue for Iceland, a country that is championing the cause even in political empowerment of women. Icelandic parliament has 50% women in it and hence the order got a green signal majorly from all parties.

“We must follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Iceland and demand equal pay for equal work now, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality”

Political leaders across the globe are praising the country for making wage pay gender equal. US Senator Bernie Sanders believes that the order is an example for US which stands at 49th position in the WEF Gender Equality Index.

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“We must follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Iceland and demand equal pay for equal work now, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality. As we fight back Republican efforts to revert women’s rights to second-class, it is important to not lose sight that our real goal is to move forward and expand women’s rights,” Sanders wrote on Facebook.

In the World Economic Forum Gender Equality index, Iceland tops the list of countries. It is followed by Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden in the top five. Iceland has been at the top spot for the past nine years as it goes on setting benchmarks for other 143 countries in the index.

Gender pay gap is one of the pressing issues in the gender parity narrative. And year after year, WEF is calculating how countries across the globe are participating to reduce the gap. The latest report of 2017 of WEF is the most saddening for it says that it will take about 217 years to close the global economic gender gap. In 2016, it was 170 years and in 2015 it was 118 years for gender pay equality to become a reality for the world. The economic gap consists of a lot of aspects like employers paying women almost half of what they pay men. Women also work 50 minutes longer than men and usually have a lesser chance of reaching executive roles.

Picture credit- Youth Ki Awaaz

 

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