Icelandic women fight for pay equity

Gendered pay discrepancies are rampant all over the world; according to Business InsiderNew Zealand has the most “equal” pay gap, with women earning about 5 percent less than men, while women in the United States earn about 18 percent less than men and women in South Korea earn a whole 37 percent less than men as of a 2015 report.

While the effects of the wage gap are felt around the world, women in Iceland decided recently that it was time to take action in their home country.

According to Women in the Worldwomen decided to leave their workplace on Monday, Oct. 24 exactly at 2:38 p.m. — a time beyond which unions and women’s organizations have calculated women essentially work for free due to the country’s 14 to 18 percent pay gap. Thus, female workers decided they would only work for the hours they’d be getting paid and left once their work didn’t merit any further pay.

While Women in the World explains that the country has been otherwise rather progressive, electing the world’s first female president in 1980 and passing “landmark” parental leave legislation in 2000, closing the pay gap seems to be the one thing still plaguing the female workers of Iceland.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap,” said Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, reports Women in the World. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”


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