Angie Stevens / News Team
Icelandic women are leaving work at 2:38 today in order to protest unequal pay. The women are leaving 14% earlier in their workday to protest the 14% gap between men and women’s pay. It is illegal to pay women less than men in Iceland. Iceland even has a lower wage gap than the EU average, which is 16.5%. Overall women under thirty in Iceland generally earn more than men per hour. This isn’t stopping women from protesting the gap.
One of the largest factors behind the wage gap is the difference in salaries between mothers that earned the same as their male counterparts before childbirth and maternity leave, and returning to work to find they are earning less. However, paid leave has been offered to men and women after the birth of their children since 2000 in Iceland. Another factor behind the wage gap is the career fields that women choose compared to men. Icelandic men tend to choose jobs in STEM fields or in physically demanding careers, such as manufacturing and construction. It is believed that if the wage gap continues to decline at its current rate, pay inequality could be a thing of the past in about 50 years in Iceland.