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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Iceland's women walkout to demand equal pay

Women's walkout in 1975

Icelandic women leave their workplaces at 14:38 hrs. today, demanding equal pay for the same work as men. The timing is significant; as of 14:38 each day, women work without pay compared to men‘s earnings, according to official statistics. In Reykjavik and elsewhere around the country, women will gather for demonstrations, as they did for the first time in 1975.

“We have indeed come a long way here in Iceland and for years the country has topped international lists for gender equality. But this does not mean that the fight is over. For decades, wage discrimination has been illegal in Iceland, but unexplained gender wage gap persists and if we don't change that, we may have to wait for up to half a century to see men and women earn the same. We can't afford to wait that long,” said Foreign Minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir. She, along with women employees of the ministry, in Iceland and elsewhere, will participate in the walkout.

Iceland is consistently ranked number one in the world in gender equality on the WEF Gender Gap Index. Still there is room for improvement. The Government has committed to achieve gender party in the media by 2020 and eliminating the gender wage gap by 2022. An official Equal Pay Standard has been developed by the Icelandic authorities in cooperation with the private sector and a number of companies and government offices are being certified after participating in the pilot project launched in 2013.

The Prime Minister, as HeforShe IMPACT Champion, and the Government also promote further engagement of men and boys in the fight for gender equality and encourage all men to make a commitment at www.heforshe.org.


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