While we were debating the merits of Padmavat(i), Iceland made gender pay parity legal

It is no coincidence that Iceland elected Katrín Jakobsdóttir as their second female prime minister in November last year

In October 2016, when thousands of women in Iceland left their offices and took to the streets asking for equal pay, the government was listening. Iceland has declared it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work. And it isn’t a coincidence that Iceland elected Katrín Jakobsdóttir as their second female prime minister in November last year.

The new law makes it mandatory for all the private companies (with more than 25 employees) to go through audit and if they fail to prove that there is no gender pay gap, they will be fined.

For over a decade, Iceland has topped World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Norway may have overtaken Finland in the WEF 2017 survey, but none of the countries have strict laws in place to take any actual action against companies discriminating between their male and female employees.

United States of America tried, but not really

In the US, there’s the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires companies to pay men and women equally for the same work. But, there’s a loophole the federal law states “pay differentials are permitted when they are based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex”.


In 2016, the Obama administration tried to pass a law plugging these loopholes but received criticism. US ranks 49 on the WEF survey.

India’s still debating the cons of Feminism, so:

The World Economic Forum 2017 report titled Global Gender Gap surveyed 144 countries, with India ranking at 141. But who cares? Padmavati or Padmavat, that is the question. While we do have Equal Remuneration Act 1976 and Constitutional provisions under Article 14 for equal pay for equal work, how much of it translates into reality is not even a question.

A report released by The Ken on International Women’s Day 2017, titled ‘The Gap You Can’t Ignore’, interviewed 1200 respondents in India, of which only 29 per cent were women. Not a big sample size, though The Ken interviewed people from the fields of Information Technology, Media and Consultancy, and about 55 per cent women felt that they were underpaid for their work.

Ken Survey

A screenshot from the Ken Survey

But it’s fine India. We can go back to the real issues of the country. Like dog memes and imaginary love scenes between imaginary fictional figures. Heaven forbid we are actually made to discuss or debate on actual problems.