As part of a plan to close Iceland’s gender pay gap by 2022, a new law has been introduced from the start of 2018 that requires public and private companies to pay employees equally “regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality”.



Companies with 25 or more employees now need to get certification to prove that they offer equal pay for work of equal value.

Though other countries (and the US state of Minnesota) have “equal-salary certificate policies”, Iceland is the first to make equal pay compulsory for both private and public firms.

The law - which was first proposed in March 2017 - found support from all the political parties in the country of about 323,000 people.

"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations... evaluate every job that's being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association, told Al Jazeera News.

"It's a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally. We have had legislation saying that pay should be equal for men and women for decades now but we still have a pay gap," she added.

Men are still being paid much more than women, and their earnings are increasing more rapidly, according to the World Economic Forum’s wide-reaching Global Gender Gap Report 2017.

The average pay for women in 2017 was $12,000, compared with $21,000 for men.

The Global Gender Gap Report looks at the differences between men and women in four key areas; health, economics, politics and education.

And although much progress has been made over the past decade, the report found that the gender gap widened for the first time in 2017 since records begain in 2006.