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International Equal Pay Day event of Iceland and the OECD

To mark the second International Equal Pay Day, Iceland and the OECD hosted an event at the OECD headquarters in Paris on Friday, dedicated to equal pay and gender equality in the labour market. The International Equal Pay Day on 18 September was designated as a day of observance in 2019 by the United Nations General Assembly. At the event, policy makers and public and private sector representatives gathered to reflect on and explore recent solutions and policy tools to further efforts to achieve equal pay for work of equal value. A special focus was placed on emerging technologies and innovative solutions by governments and the private sector to achieve a more equal and inclusive world of work. 

Ambassador Unnur Orradóttir-Ramette, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the OECD, delivered opening remarks and Ambassador Muriel Pénicaud, Permanent Representative of France to the OECD & former Minister of Labour, presented the recent equal pay index in France.

In his remarks, Mr Ulrik Knudsen, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD discussed the policies needed to tackle the pay gap, including access to affordable, quality childcare, availability of parental leave and improving women's earnings through equal pay measures. The panellists highlighted the importance of access to and employment of quality data, as well as the need to address the gendered pay gap early in women’s working life, in order to prevent a pension pay gap. Combating the biases that lead to gender pay gaps was also identified as an important issue to address, as these biases can result in women-dominated occupations paying less than occupations dominated by men. It is therefore important to counter the societal stereotypes that have a negative impact on women’s participation in the labour market. During the question and answer session following the panellists’ interventions, online participants posted questions to the panel.

The meeting moderator was Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, newly appointed Director of the OECD Development Centre. Other panellists at the event were Ms Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO, Ms Monika Queisser, Head of Social Policy Division at the OECD, Ms Margrét V. Bjarnadóttir, Professor of Management Science & Statistics at the University of Maryland and Founder of PayAnalytics, and Christine Theodorovics, Chief Strategic Development Officer at AXA.

The aim of the event was to stimulate increased international cooperation between governments and the private sector with the goal of ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, by presenting concrete initiatives undertaken by policymakers and the private sector to address the gender pay gap.

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