Lets celebrate: Firms in Iceland now have to prove they offer equal pay.


Looking for a pay rise? Consider moving to Iceland.

No, seriously.

The nordic country is number one for gender equality. While women typically earn 14-18 per cent less than men currently, the government has made the pledge to close that gap by 2022.

It’s not just empty words either. In case you missed it, on International Women’s Day last week the country introduced legislation that enforces equal pay.

The government announced the new law that if passed will require every company with 25 or more staff to gain a certificate demonstrating pay equality.


It makes them the first country in the world to make companies prove they pay all employees the same, regardless of a person’s gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.

According to The Independent, Switzerland and the US state of Minnesota also have similar schemes, but Iceland is the first to make it a mandatory requirement.

“The time is right to do something radical about this issue,” said Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson.


“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.”

Should the legislation pass as expected, the new law would hopefully be implemented by 2020.

The move follows a strike last year supported by women all over the country.

On 24th October last year, thousands of women in Reykjavik alone left offices, shops, factories and schools where they were meant to be working at 2:38pm to protest against earning less than their male counterparts.

Listen: It’s never too late to make a difference – women who’ve made it later in life. Post continues after audi.

According to unions and women’s organisations, the 14 to 18 per cent disparity in pay for women means that in a typical eight hour day, women are working for free after this time.


It’s not the first time a strike has brought about positive gender equality for the country.

In 1975, 90 per cent of women in Iceland decided to demonstrate their importance by going on strike. One year later, the equal pay act was introduced and five years later, the country elected its first female prime minister – and the first in Europe – Vigdis Finnbogadottir, a divorced single mother.

“What happened that day [of the strike] was the first step for women’s emancipation in Iceland,” she told the BBC.

“It completely paralysed the country and opened the eyes of many men.”