On the first Monday, the first official day of 2018, Iceland became the first country to make "it illegal to pay men more than women." This new law means that "companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies."
What does this mean? Any company or agency that fails to provide proof of equal pay will face heavy fines.
It does not sound entirely perfect yet, but what's written on paper or in the news may be a bit different than how it is in practice.
"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations ... evaluate every job that's being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," said Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association. "It's a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally. We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now but we still have a pay gap."
The new legislation had to pass through Iceland's center-right government and its opposition. Iceland's parliament is approximately 50% female.
Although Iceland has been rated the "world's most gender-equal country" by the World Economic Forum for nearly a decade, they have had to come a long way to get this new law passed. The island country is home to approximately 323,000 people, and thrives on tourism and fishing.
The WEF began its reports back in 2006 using The Global Gender Gap Report. This report collects data from areas such as "economic opportunity, political empowerment, and health and survival" and compiles an annual report that measures "the state of gender equality in a country."
"I think that now people are starting to realise that this is a systematic problem that we have to tackle with new methods," said Aradottir Pind. "Women have been talking about this for decades and I really feel that we have managed to raise awareness, and we have managed to get to the point that people realise that the legislation we have had in place is not working, and we need to do something more."
Iceland is one of the Top 5 best performers on the WEF's global gender gap scale. It stands beside Norway, Rwanda, Sweden, and Finland.