Equal Pay Day in Iceland

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Gender Pay Gap in Iceland

The gender pay gap ranges in Iceland stays with around 15 per cent (2017) around European average. The high wage gap can be mostly explained by vertical and horizontal segregation in the labour market.

Despite the high wage gap, Iceland ranks first in the The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 and is often mentioned for a high level of equality measures.

Equal Pay Act in Iceland

Already in 1961, the Icelandic Parliament approved the Equal Pay Act to ensure equal remuneration for women and men for equal work or work of equal value. The gender pay gap ranged relatively constantly around 15 to 16 per cent. Especially the economic crisis in 2008 had enormous impacts on the gender pay gap increasing the gap up to 28 per cent.

In order to close the wage gap and to enforce pay equity, Iceland has developed the Equal Pay Standard. The standard requires that companies with more than 25 employees have to analyse and certify that the pay women and men equally for the same job and job of equal value. The law has entered into force in January 2018.

Equal Pay Day in Iceland

BPW Iceland and other women’s organisations celebrated in 2014 the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights and this year’s EPD together. In this regard, the Equal Pay Day has been celebrated in autumn rather than in spring, as it usually happens in other European countries.

On October 24, 2016, thousands of women across Iceland walked out of their workplaces at 2.38pm demonstrating against the gender pay gap. The pay discrepancy means that Icelandic women effectively work without pay after this time, according to unions and women’s organizations.[1]

On March 8, 2017, the Icelandic Government annouced to introduce a new law in order to close the wage gap. This law requires companies with more than 25 employees to proove that wages are fair. Therefore, companies shall get certified to analyse and show their wage structures. The central goal of this legislative initiative is to close the wage gap entirely by 2022. The law should enter into effect by 2020. [2]


  1. Kvennafrí
  2. European Commission: Iceland: Equal pay certification legalised

Gender Equality in Iceland

Gender Equality in Iceland - Stepping Stones

Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes: Gleiche Arbeit, ungleicher Lohn? Zahlen und Fakten zu Entgeltungleichheit in Deutschland und Europa

BMFSFJ: ÍST 85:2012 — Managementsystem für Entgeltgleichheit — Anforderungen und Leitlinien

Related Links

BPW Iceland

Icelandic Shadow Report for CEDAW 2016