While Iceland is the first country to outlaw the gender pay gap, the rest of the world is seeing a bigger divide than ever

Clive Rose / Getty ImagesHere’s how much women earn compared to men around the world.
  • Despite efforts to close the gender wage gap, it’s getting bigger.
  • Women now earn on average 57% of what men earn globally.
  • Some countries like Iceland and the UK have national initiatives aimed at increasing pay equality.
  • Financially, countries and the world would benefit from closing the gender pay gap.

On January 1, Iceland became the first country in the world to pass legislation with real teeth outlawing the gender pay gap.

According to Al Jazeera, companies and government agencies that employ more than 25 people must obtain a government certificate demonstrating pay parity, or else they will face fines.

This isn’t the first or only national initiative aimed at closing the wage gap.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF),two thirds of OECD countries have introduced policies on pay equality, including requiring some employers to publish calculations every year showing the gender pay gap.

Despite these initiatives, however, the global gender pay gap is widening.

According to WEF’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, while men around the world earn on average $US21,000 a year, women earn $US12,000 a year. This means that globally women earn about 57% of what men earn.

At the rate things are going, WEF predicts the economic gap between men and women won’t be closed for another 217 years.

If not for altruism’s sake, leaders around the world have a financial incentive to take a note of what Iceland has done and work towards closing the gender pay gap in their country.

According to WEF’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, “economic gender parity could add an additional $US250 billion to the GDP of the United Kingdom, $US1,750 billion to that of the United States, $US550 billion to Japan’s, $US320 billion to France’s, and $US310 billion to the GDP of Germany.” What’s more, “the world as a whole could increase global GDP by $US5.3 trillion by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation by 25% over the same period.”

Based on the same WEF report, here’s a look at what percentage women earn compared to men’s earnings in the 35 OECD countries:

  • Australia: 62%
  • Austria: 52%
  • Belgium: 65%
  • Canada: 67%
  • Chile: 52%
  • Czech Republic: 60%
  • Denmark: 67%
  • Estonia: 61%
  • Finland: 74%
  • France: 71%
  • Germany: 68%
  • Greece: 66%
  • Hungary: 63%
  • Iceland: 73%
  • Ireland: 58%
  • Israel: 60%
  • Italy: 52%
  • Japan: 52%
  • Korea: 45%
  • Latvia: 70%
  • Luxembourg: 63%
  • Mexico: 50%
  • Netherlands: 48%
  • New Zealand: 62%
  • Norway: 79%
  • Poland: 64%
  • Portugal: 72%
  • Slovak Republic: 60%
  • Slovenia: 81%
  • Spain: 63%
  • Sweden: 79%
  • Switzerland: 70%
  • Turkey: 44%
  • United Kingdom: 55%
  • United States: 65%

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