By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Getty Images.
One of the biggest issues being protested on International Women's Day was the fact that, in many parts of the world, women make significantly less money than men for the same work. Despite its reputation as a feminist utopia—and above-average number of women on corporate boards—Iceland is one such place. According to The Independent, Icelandic women earn 14 to 18 cents less than their male counterparts make. So, while American women went on strike on March 8, Icelandic women left their offices at 2:38—the time after which they'd stop earning money if they made the same amount per hour as men.
Thanks to these—and other–demonstrations, Iceland's government has heard women and other lower-earning groups' cries. The country announced on International Women's Day that it'll be requiring all companies with 25 or more employees to prove they pay everyone equally “regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality.”
It's the first country to have such a requirement in place for both public and private companies. The U.S. has no such federal legislation, though Minnesota requires some contractors to get a certificate proving they pay employees equally before fulfilling a contract.
Iceland's new legislation will be brought to Parliament by the end of the month and is expected to pass with widespread support across parties. The government plans on implementing it by 2020 with the goal of eliminating the pay gap by 2022.
"The time is right to do something radical about this issue," Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson told The Telegraph. "Equal rights are human rights. ... We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that."
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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