By Priyanka Jethwa
Iceland has once again proven why it’s the best country to be a woman in.
Just few days ago, it set an example for the rest of the world by making it illegal for businesses who have 25 staff or more to pay women less than men, in a huge fight against the gender pay gap.
Its collective effort in trusting in the solidarity and strength of women has been proven time and time again, most notably when it made history by appointing the world’s first democratically elected female prime minister, followed by topping the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index nine years in a row (to date in 2017).
Its legislation is thought to be a world first in the effort to tackle the gender pay gap, where still in the UK and US it remains a big problem – with women being paid less for the same role as their male counterparts.
The law, which was passed in June 2017 was officially employed in the New Year and requires companies to have an equal pay certification from auditors.
In a statement made to The New York Times, Icelandic Women’s Rights Association chairwoman, Frida Ros Valdimarsdottir, said: “Of course it has always been illegal to unequally pay men and women… but this is a legally binding toolkit.”
The UK Government says that currently men are paid 16.9% higher than women, and receive 25.2% higher bonus payments – for doing the same job.
And in a recently published report, figures reveal that the most blameworthy culprits are corporate giants EasyJet and Phase Eight.The report shows that men who work for Phase Eight are paid 64.8% more than women and 51.7% more at EasyJet, based on an hourly basis.
Despite it being morally wrong and downright disgusting to pay based on gender, the report shows that we clearly need some type of legislation that forces companies to act, like Iceland.
In accordance to the Equality Act 2010, companies that employee more than 250 staff are by law supposed to reveal their gender pay gap by April this year – but this alone isn’t enough to incite change.
Publishing wage differences may ‘name and shame’ the companies that are guilty of doing so, but it doesn’t exactly force them to physically address the situation.
What we need is a law that protects women from being paid less than their male colleagues, and we need it now.
By introducing a law likened to Iceland’s, we can ensure that women in the workplace are safeguarded against discrimination… and hopefully the rest of the world can follow suit.