Iceland Law

Iceland will be (one of) the first countries to propose legislation requiring companies to show evidence that they are paying women and men equally, according to a story in the New York Times.

Although Iceland already has laws set in place which called for pay equality and a decrease in the pay gap for the past 50 years, the new proposed legislation is designed to actually enforce the laws and call companies to account.

The new legislation mandates audits of companies and agencies of the government starting next year. Companies would be evaluated and would then be required to get certification that they have indeed complied with the equal pay laws. Any business with more than twenty five members has until the 2022 deadline to comply and become certified.

[Text Wrapping Break]Women in Iceland make 14 to 20 percent less than men. Though 80 percent of women in Iceland have careers and half of members in company boards is comprised of women, men still possess higher economic power. Men occupy more positions in top and intermediate management roles.

The problem of the wage gap between the two genders poses as a significant social and economic issue in the United States as well.

The US passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963 as part of overall Civil Rights legislation during that period which required men and women to be equally paid for equal work in the same business or company. Despite such legislation, women still lag behind men in terms of income equality.

Even though women earn more college degrees than men and make up almost half of the workforce, the wage gap between men and women in the workforce continues to be a systemic issue in United States. It is a well known and alarming fact that in 2015, women were paid only 80 cents compared to the dollar men were paid. This leaves a full 20 percent difference in the pay gap. In fact, for all occupations for which there is enough data and information on the salaries paid to employees, women consistently earn less than men across the board.

These statistics are considerably starker for women of color. In fact, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) calculated that if the current rate of changes in wages remain constant, white women will have to wait until 2059 , Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248, and black women will have to wait until 2124 to be paid as equally as men.

Perhaps if a law like the one proposed in Iceland could be considered in the United States, American women of all colors could hope to finally gain income equality sooner rather than later.

 

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