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It's Now Illegal to Pay Men More Than Women in Iceland

Lots to cheer about. Photograph by HEIKKI SAUKKOMAA AFP/Getty Images

Iceland is the first country to make it illegal to pay men more than women.

Equal pay policies is now mandatory for companies with 25 or more employees. Those that cannot show that they provide equal pay will be subject to fines.

The law, which was passed last year, went into effect on Jan. 1.

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Iceland is already a leader in gender parity. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Iceland as the top country for gender quality for the last nine years based on criteria involving economics, education, health, and politics.

For example, Icelandic women make up 48% of the country’s parliament—without a quota system. And starting over a decade ago, Iceland made great strides to close the wage gap.

Despite this, wage inequality has persisted. In 2016, thousands of women in Iceland left work at 2:38 p.m., to protest pay disparity. The time was symbolic of when woman stop receiving pay during their 9 to 5 work day compared to men. The wage gap in Iceland was 72 cents to every man’s dollar, according to the Atlantic. On International Women’s Day in 2017, the country moved to change that.

The tiny country, pop. 323,000, aims to completely eliminate the wage gap by 2020, according to Al Jazeera.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) praised Iceland for it pay equity legislation.

“We must follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Iceland and demand equal pay for equal work now, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality,” he wrote on Facebook.

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