Iceland is the frontrunner in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for the ninth year in a row.
Here are the reasons why the country tops the world when it comes to gender equality:
Iceland aims to completely close the gender gap in five years.
Historically, women in the country have been held in high regard. Men were traditionally seafarers, and women played the roles of farmer, hunter, builder etc
But by 1975, all of that had changed. In 1975, women only earned 60 per cent of what men earned and there were only three female MPs.
They were fed up. So 90 per cent of female workers went on strike to press for gender equality. They created the Women Alliance Party. The women’s collective action led to a sharp increase in the number of women in parliament. In 1983, the number of female MPs jumped from five to 15 in a single election.
The Women’s Alliance worked relentlessly and women’s issues were brought into the political agendas of there parties as well. The number of women running for elections also increased. Gender quota rules were also applied so that women got an equal chance to be elected into power.
Iceland grants parental leave to both parents, which means that gender roles are not so prescribed
New legislation has been introduced to reduce the gender pay gap. The Equal Pay Standard will apply to all companies and institutions with 25 full-time staff positions. Companies would need to undergo certification every three years to ensure that their pay policies follow the rules.
Iceland has been seen making some sincere efforts in the direction of ensuring women’s sexual and reproductive heath. Its campaigns like ‘She Decides’ have done substantial work in bringing about winds of change.
The Economist has said that Iceland is the world’s best place for working women.
Picture Credit: WikiMedia
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