Iceland makes it illegal to pay women less than men

DCNFGrace Carr, DCNF

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Iceland is ringing in the new year with mandatory equal pay for men and women who do the same job at companies larger than 25 persons.

According to new legislation passed by Iceland’s parliament, both public and private companies that employ 25 or more workers have to prove that they pay men and women equally, and must change their policies to ensure that equal compensation is actualized in order to become certified to operate.

The law does not appear to distinguish between company members who have been recently hired and those who have achieved seniority. The government will also require companies to undergo certification examinations every three years and will impose fines on organizations that fail to pass the equal pay requirements, Fast Company reports.

“We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now but we still have a pay gap,” said Icelandic Women’s Rights Association board member, Dagny Pind, according to Bustle. The association works to increase women’s representation in parliament, eradicate gender income inequality, make gender studies a mandatory subject in secondary schools, and raise awareness of violence against women, according to its website.

Nearly half of Iceland’s parliament is female, the Guardian reports. Iceland also ranked number one in the world regarding gender income equality before it passed the measure mandating equal pay. Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden rank next best in gender income equality respectively, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Iceland also ranks as the number country in abortion rates for fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome, touting an 100 percent abortion rate for babies who will be born with the genetic condition.

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