Closing the gender pay gap
Iceland launches pioneering initiatives to close the gender wage gap. Is this regulation relevant for the Norwegian debate on equal pay as well?
Although ranked as the most equal country by World Economic Forum's ranking, Iceland still has a gender pay gap in the same way as Norway. Norwegian women earned 12 % less on average than male employee in 2014.
Closing the gender pay gap by 2022
In 2012, Iceland introduced an “Equal Pay Standard” that businesses and public organisations could use to assess, check and review the status for gender inequality in wages. This week, a new legislation has made the standard mandatory for all larger businesses, public or private, and requires such firms to verify that they really are paying men and women the same wage when they do the same job. The Icelandic ambition is that gender equality in wages shall be achieved by 2022.
Studying the Icelandic initiatives
Researchers at the Institute for Social Research have been commissioned to outline the new practices, and to assess their relevance for the Norwegian debate on equal pay.
– The Icelandic initiatives are innovative, and we know they generate considerable interest internationally. We look forward to putting together an updated review of what the standard entails, and to make it relevant for the Norwegian context, says project leader Anne Skevik Grødem.
Ines Wagner (ISF) looks forward to start up the fieldwork in Iceland this February:
– In Iceland I'm interviewing key informants focusing on actors who contributed to the policy formation, administrators enforcing the standard as well as users of the Equal Pay Standard. It will be interesting to explore the different points of views within and across the social partners, enforcement institutions and public administration, says Wagner.
– We are also interested in learning about positive and negative experiences with the equal pay standard from the point of view from the private sector, which tried and tested its usage during the pilot phase.
Skevik Grødem and Wagner are expecting preliminary results in the spring.