Iceland Is On Its Way To Becoming The First Gender-Equal Nation, Plus 6 More Countries The Rest Of The World Can Learn From
Iceland is known for its stunning fjords and breathtaking beaches, but it’s also notable for practicing greater gender equality than the rest of the world. At least that’s what Saadia Zahidi, who runs the World Economic Forum’s gender equality campaign, says: Iceland is on its way to becoming the first country with gender equality ever.
Iceland consistently tops the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which measures gender equality in economic opportunity, educational attainment, health, and political representation, Szhidi told Quartz, adding that its gender gap has been steadily closing over the past few years. Currently, with all those factors considered, Iceland has closed 87 percent of the gap between how men and women are treated, and if it keeps improving at its current rate, that gap could close completely within the next few years.
This all comes with the caveat that not all forms of sexism can be measured. As this video created by Icelandic women called “Dear Girls” demonstrates, Icelandic women are no strangers to objectification, accusations of bossiness, and other forms of discrimination that many women in other countries can relate to.
It also comes with the caveat there some countries are doing as well as or better than Iceland on several fronts. So, here are some advances in other countries that we can also learn from.
SWEDEN: Offers generous parental leave and requires that both parents use it
Sweden requires both parents combined to take 16 months of parental leave, and it mandates that each parent takes at least three of those months, or else they lose it, in order to encourage gender-balanced households.
FINLAND: Beat everyone to the biggest women’s rights milestones
Finland, ranked number two for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, became the first European country to grant women voting rights in 1906, the same year that its Parliament became the first in the world to let women run for office.
THE PHILIPPINES: No gap in health or education
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the Philippines has no gender gap in health or education, along with the Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, France, Guyana, Latvia, and Namibia. What makes the Philippines even more unique is that its laws require an equal gender distribution within its government.
IRELAND: Women are more educated than men
About 55 percent of Irish women ages 24-35 had third-level qualifications, the equivalent of an Associate’s degree, compared to about 43 percent of men, in 2013. Women also make 94 percent of men’s hourly wages in Ireland.
BURUNDI: Has the world’s smallest wage gap
In the little-known African country, women make 83 percent of what men earn in the same jobs.
DENMARK: Women earn more than men
Women actually make two percent more than men in Denmark, though this is only because women hold higher-paying jobs. In the same jobs, women still make only 71 percent of what men do.