Iceland is Serious About Making Sure Men and Women are Paid Equally

gender pay gap
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If you’re a woman or know a woman (so basically everyone reading this), you probably already know about the ginormous gender pay gap situation in the U.S.

A 2016 report by Pew Research revealed that “among women across all races and ethnicities, hourly earnings lag behind those of white men and men in their own racial or ethnic group.”

The wage divide between men and women isn’t chump change, either. It ranges from 87 cents to 58 cents less than men, depending on ethnicity.

Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research say the issue can be partially explained by differences in occupations and industry as well as a disparity in education and workforce experience.

But there’s more to the gender pay gap than that.

“About a quarter of women (27%) say their gender has made it harder for them to succeed in life, compared with just 7% of men,” Pew researchers report. “About six in 10 men and women say their gender hasn’t made much difference, but men are much more likely than women to say their gender has made it easier to succeed (30% vs. 8%).”

What Century Is This?

Since the stone age ended about 9,600 BC, you’d think we’d be past all this by now, but apparently not.

In fact, a survey last year by CareerBuilder called out the 20% of human resource managers who openly admitted women make less money doing the same job at the same company.

At this rate, it’s going to take women a millennium to catch up to what men make in the workplace, much less become routinely prosperous.

Iceland Takes a Stand On the Gender Pay Gap

With its 14% to 20% gender pay gap, Iceland has a similar wage equality problem as the U.S.

Though equal pay laws in the country do exist, the Icelandic government suspects companies still aren’t paying women fairly.

As a result, there’s new legislation on the table designed to hold companies accountable and make them prove they’re paying men and women equitably.

“We want to break down the last of the gender barriers in the workplace,” said Thorsteinn Viglundsson, Iceland’s social affairs and equality minister, told the New York Times. “History has shown that if you want progress, you need to enforce it.”

Hold my laptop while I bow to the Icelandic government.

Ladies, We Got This

Face it, the U.S. isn’t likely to follow in Iceland’s badass footsteps anytime soon.

In the meantime, here are a few things we can do while we wait for America to get with the program:

On a larger scale, there are plenty of organizations — like the National Organization for Women and the National Committee On Pay Equity — working to close the gender wage gap.

They’re always looking for help, and it’s a great way to influence creating a more equitable workplace for future generations.

Your turn: How many times did you consider moving to Iceland while reading this post?

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. It took her forever to confirm when the Stone Age actually ended. Try to use that data point today so her efforts don’t go to waste.

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