Iceland is taking Gender Equality a Step Up

Gender equality and pay is a controversial topic of discussion. Over the years a lot of arguments have been raised regarding the discrepancies between males and females. The emphasis that females have to be paid as much as men is rightly so, as we live in the 21st century and discriminating against someone solely on the basis of gender is unacceptable in a forward-looking world.

Iceland seems to be taking the right steps forward as it has made it officially illegal to pay women less than men. In this regard, enforcement is key, as anyone can get round such a legislation. Companies in Iceland will need to be certified for proving that males and females are paid equally. Iwould seriously ask how this can be prooven, but hey!

In this regard, Iceland has been recognised as the leading in the world for gender pay equality and has been so for the past nine years. The new law came into effect in the beginning of 2018, according to Al Jazeera. This law clearly stipulates that companies with more than twenty-five employees will need to obtain a certificate issued by government that illustrates that the company pays males and females equally. Failing to do so will result in fines. The announcement of this law was made on the 8th March, 2017, on Women’s Day, highlighting that the objective is to completely eliminate the pay gap between males and females by 2022.

The new law will require companies to evaluate every job being done within the organisation and prove that both males and females working in the same jobs are getting equal pay. Once this is satisfactorily proved, the respective company will get certified by the government. This process is necessary because it is proved that legislation regarding equal pay rights does not work without the proper enforcement.

From a parliamentary point of view, this law was well received as it was supported by the government and opposition. This was to be expected especially when considering that almost half of the lawmakers are women.

The issue of gender pay equality is something that we have been discussing for a number of years, however it feels that problems still persist in Europe. Should countries like Malta follow suit with such legislation? Whilst we must admit that we have made significant inroads and that more women are now working and getting paid better salaries, we still hear about this inequality.

What are your views in this regard? What else can be done to ensure equality?

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