Activism

Icelandic women: If you pay us 14 percent less, we’ll leave work 14 percent early

Although experts agree that Iceland is the world leader in gender equality, the country has a ways to go when it comes to the gender pay gap.

Data shows that women make 14 to 18 percent less than their male counterparts in the workplace in Iceland, essentially meaning that women work for free after 2:38 p.m., according to estimates from union and women’s rights groups.

With that math in mind, a protest movement has emerged where thousands of Icelandic women are leaving their places of employment at exactly 2:38 p.m.

From the New York Times:

“[Iceland] is a good place to be a woman,” says Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who in 1980 became Iceland’s president and, in so doing, the world’s first democratically elected woman president. Things weren’t always so clear cut, however. Before October 24, 1975, when 90 percent of Iceland’s women went on strike — refusing to work, cook, or even provide childcare — only nine women had ever won seats in the country’s parliament.

Just five years later, Finnbogadottir was elected. By 1999, more than a third of the country’s MPs were women. And in 2000, Iceland’s government passed a landmark parental leave legislation that many credit with helping women to return to work, and their former hours, more quickly after childbirth. Today, 90 percent of Icelandic fathers take parental leave — and research has shown that they continue to be involved in housework and childcare even after the leave is over.

Thanks to the pay gap’s slow-moving progress, it’ll take 52 years before men and women are on an equal pay field.

“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. “It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”

 Featured image via Twitter

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