Iceland's Groundbreaking Gender Pay Gap Legislation Is Putting Us All To Shame

They introduced the legislation on International Women's Day, no less

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Iceland has just made history, people.

They have been sitting on the top of the gender equality table for a while now.

Back in 1975, a fifth of Iceland's female population took to the streets of Reykjavik to protest and 90 per cent of women refused to work.

That included domestic work too - and they proved how indispensable they were and not five years later, their first female president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, was elected.

Vigdis Finnbogadottir and Margaret Thatcher
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By 1999 a third of the government was women and in 2000 three months of paternal leave and three month of maternal leave (and three more that can be shared between partners) was given on a take-it or leave-it basis.

This means 90 per cent of all Icelandic fathers take paternal leave.

The Guardian reports that.

This piece of social engineering has had a profound impact on men as well as women. Not only do women return to work after giving birth faster than before, they return to their pre-childbirth working hours faster, too. Research shows that, after taking the three months' leave, fathers continue to be significantly more involved in childcare and do more housework. Sharing the parental responsibilities and chores from the beginning, it seems, makes a difference.

Iceland has impressive stats, 80 per cent of women work, and mandatory quotas mean that 'almost half of board members of listed companies are now women, while 65 per cent of Iceland's university students and 41 per cent of MPs are female.'

There is still a wage gap issue, however, but the government has just taken a concrete step to change that.

The Independent reported that on International Women's Day that the government announced that companies with 25 employees or more must gain a certificate demonstrating equal pay.

Equality and Social Affairs Minister, Thorsteinn Viglundsson, said that, 'the time is right to do something radical about this issue. 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.'

We're with you on that one, Thor.

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