“Gender equality not merely a matter of justice, but a matter of necessity, of common sense” says Thorsteinn Víglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality of Iceland

Published: 08-03-2017
Minister Víglundsson with speakers and panelists during the seminar on 9 March
Iceland is to become the first country to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality. In this context, a half-day seminar on an “Equal Pay Management System – The Icelandic Model” was presented by the Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, on Thursday 9 March 2017 at the EFTA Secretariat in Brussels.

Mr Thorsteinn Víglundsson, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality of Iceland, reported that Iceland had been repeatedly ranked number one in the world in terms of gender equality, and that the government intended to make further progress. Minister Víglundsson stated that while there was a tendency to think of gender equality as a women’s topic, “we know better: gender equality benefits all of us”.

Director-General for Justice and Consumers, Ms Tiina Astola, used the seminar as an opportunity to announce that the European Commission would be launching an initiative on work-life balance, which could be expected by the end of April.

Other speakers included Ms Marianna Traustadóttir from the Icelandic Confederation of Labour and Ms Sigrídur Vilhjálmsdóttir from the Icelandic insurance company Vis, who gave the perspective of a private company. The public organisations’ point of view was represented by Ms Unnur Ýr Kristjánsdóttir from the Directorate of Customs and by the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization, Mr Kunio Mikuriya.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion with Minister Víglundsson and representatives of BusinessEurope, ETUC, Icelandic Standards and CEEP.

After the seminar, Minister Víglundsson met with EFTA’s Deputy Secretary-General Dag W. Holter for a bilateral meeting during which they discussed issues related to the functioning of the EEA Agreement.

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