International Equal Pay Day will be celebrated for the first time this 18 September. On the occasion of this event the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), of which Iceland is a member, hosts a virtual global event and Call to Action to encourage all labour market actors to take the necessary steps to ensure that equal pay is at the heart of recovery efforts worldwide.
Last November, a resolution on International Equal Pay Day was adopted by the Third Committee of the General Assembly. A group of EPIC member countries, led by Iceland, joined in presenting the resolution establishing September 18 as International Equal Pay Day to be observed each year. The resolution follows the resolution on Equal Pay, presented by the same group of countries and adopted by the Human Rights Council in July 2018.
The objective of the International Equal Pay Day is to raise awareness of measures to commit to promote equal pay and to encourage further action to achieve the goal of equal pay for work of equal value in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) the gap in earnings between women and men stands about 20 percent globally and 13 percent within the OECD member states. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nations of the world must remain more vigilant than ever and fight against wider inequalities. According to the ILO, there is strong evidence that the impact of the pandemic on labour markets has been more negative for women than men and they are also at greater risk of losing their jobs.
It is therefore of great importance that the governments, trade unions, employers and other stakeholders respond to the Call for Action on 18 September.
The virtual global event begins with a joint address by the national leaders of the EPIC countries, including Gudni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, as well as leaders of international organizations associated with EPIC, e.g. ILO, OECD, International Organization of Employers (IOE), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and UN Women. This will be followed by panel discussions with participants from the academic community, trade unions, employers, governments and activists. Iceland's representative in the panel discussions will be Thorsteinn Víglundsson, CEO and former Minister of Social Affairs and Gender Equality.
The seminar starts at 13:00 GMT