Activism

Women In Iceland Leave Work 14% Early To Protest The Country’s 14% Wage Gap

Because men, on average, make 14 to 18 percent more than women for the same work, women left their places of employment at 2:38 PM.

Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Even in Iceland – a country considered to be one of the world’s leaders in gender equality, a pay gap exists. For every dollar a man makes, women make approximately 76 cents (similar to the U.S. and other developed nations). According to The New York Times, there are a number of plausible reasons for this: women might tend take jobs that pay less then men or a workplace bias might truly exist.

Whatever the reason for a noticeable salary difference between the genders, women in Iceland are done tolerating it. On Monday, October 24, 2016, thousands of women left work 14% early to protest the fact that women in Iceland, on average, make 14 to 18 percent less than men.  As the video below shows, they left work at approximately 2:38 pm and took to the streets to send a message about the pay difference.

Impressive progress for women’s rights has made been since 1975, when 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike in protest of the lack of women holding a place in the country’s parliament. However, there’s still a long way to go until true equality to be realized. Says Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who was elected as Iceland’s president in 1980 and in doing so became the world’s first democratically elected woman president: “[Iceland] is a good place to be a woman.” 

The reason the women left work 14% early and filled the streets over this issue is because at the current rate the pay gap is closing, it will take 52 years before men and women receive equal wages in the country. If Iceland showed the world anything when it sentenced 28 corrupt bankers to prison, it’s that its populace is persistent and committed to fairness. Because of this, it’ll likely only be a matter of time before this issue is addressed and remedied.

Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor commented on the slow-to-close pay gap:

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap. It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in 50 years. That’s a lifetime.”

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