The northern European nation of Iceland is setting the world a gender example on equal pay for work of equal value which other States should follow, a group of UN human rights experts said Thursday.
"Iceland is spearheading the fight against gender discrimination with new legislation on equal pay certification," said experts from the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in a statement on the nation that has a population of fewer than 350,000 people.
"We wholeheartedly welcome this move, which is a much-needed positive development in the global challenge of ending the gender pay gap," said the group which is also part of the UN Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice.
The experts said they want to encourage other States to look at the example Iceland is setting.
"Women who continue to suffer discrimination in the workplace will face a lifetime of income inequality," they said.
They noted that this is a "human rights issue" which affects women in all countries and must be tackled with concrete measures such as this equal pay certification.
A new Icelandic law requires all companies and institutions with 25 or more staff to obtain an equal pay certificate.
Companies must show that they have classified jobs according to equal value and have then analyzed people's wages accordingly.
The law, which took effect on Jan. 1, also requires firms to demonstrate that they have formalized their pay policies and processes.
"This legislation shows the critical role that States can and must play in employing innovative tools to ensure that businesses respect the human rights of women," said the experts.