Bernie Sanders called for the United States to start acting more like Iceland and legally enforce equal pay for men and women across the country on Tuesday.
The independent senator from Vermont posted the statement on Facebook:
“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. As we fight back Republican efforts to revert women’s rights to second-class, it is important to not lose sight that our real goal is to move forward and expand women’s rights.”
On Monday, the former presidential candidate posted in response to Iceland’s recent legislation to enforce equal pay for men and women. Iceland is the first country to do so, which is historic. Iceland’s legislation requires that any company or government agency that employs 25 people or more must prove to the government that they pay men and women the same. If they fail to do so, they will be fined.
Sanders has been a big contributor to the equal pay movement, as it was part of his presidential campaign platform. Sanders’s presidential campaign website calls the wage gap a “national disgrace” by saying, “it is wrong that women working full-time only earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. We have got to move forward and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.”
Iceland has been ahead in the gender equality movement for years now, and this new legislation is a part of it. According to the World Economic Forum, Iceland is ranked first for the ninth year in a row in its efforts to close the gender gap. The country has closed “more than 87 percent of its overall gender gap,” the WEF wrote in November. Iceland also ranks fifth in providing similar work opportunities for men and women.
Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are all in the top five of the gender equality movement. Unfortunately, the United States does not even come close to these Nordic regions.
However, the United States has been making progress in the gender equality realm since the 1980s. According to a report from the Pew Research Center in April, women earned 83 percent of what men earned in 2015. Nevertheless, the country ranks 49th on the WEF index, with low scores in women’s political empowerment and health and life expectancy.