from Women and Foreign Policy Program and Women Around the World

Women Around the World: This Week

Iceland's new Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir with her government poses in Reykjavik, Iceland, on November 30, 2017. The November elections brought the country its most gender-equal government in history. REUTERS/Geirix

Welcome to “Women Around the World: This Week,” a series that highlights noteworthy news related to women and U.S. foreign policy. This week’s post, covering December 30 to January 8, was compiled with support from Becky Allen, Alexandra Bro, and Anne Connell.

January 5, 2018

Iceland's new Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir with her government poses in Reykjavik, Iceland, on November 30, 2017. The November elections brought the country its most gender-equal government in history. REUTERS/Geirix
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Iceland mandates proof of equal pay

Last week, Iceland became the first country in the world to pass a federal law requiring employers to prove that they are paying male and female equally. Starting in 2018, companies with twenty-five or more employees will be required by the Equal Pay Standard to analyze their salary structure annually and obtain certification from the government every three years. Organizations that fail to do so will face penalties, including fees imposed by the government. Though the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as the most gender equal country in the world for nine consecutive years, and Icelandic law has mandated equal pay for equal work since the 1960s, the country had a 16 percent pay gap last year due to lack of oversight and the persistence of some discriminatory policies. Experts suggest that the timing of the law is related to Iceland’s election of the “most equal Parliament in the world": female candidates won close to 50 percent of parliamentary seats in the 2016 elections, without any quotas in place.

Turkey sanctions child marriage

Turkey’s state religious affairs agency has come under heavy criticism after announcing that girls as young as nine could be permitted to marry under Islamic law. The Diyanet body, which administers religious institutions and education across the country, said on an official website last week that girls could marry as soon as they reach adolescence, sanctioning marriages of girls as young as nine years old. Despite the fact that Turkey’s legal age of marriage is eighteen, the practice of underage weddings with the consent of parents or in religious ceremonies is widespread. Following the Diyanet’s announcement, thirty members of parliament called on the government to launch an investigation into child marriage, with lawmaker Murat Bakan writing on Twitter that the practice “violates children’s rights, women’s rights, and human rights.”

Automation may widen the gender pay gap

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Women and Women's Rights

Women's Political Leadership

Turkey

Economics

Women and Economic Growth

A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests that automation could widen the gender pay gap in the future. Lower-skill jobs, which are disproportionately held by women, are most likely to be replaced by technological advances in automation in coming years; in contrast, many higher-skill jobs—disproportionately held by men—are expected to remain stable.  Because automation and new technologies may boost productivity and increase the market value of high-skill work that is not automatable, the analysis predicts that the wages of society’s highest earners will rise while those of the lowest will not. In every country globally, women currently make up a smaller proportion of those in high-skill, high-pay occupations that are resilient to automation.

More on:

Women and Women's Rights

Women's Political Leadership

Turkey

Economics

Women and Economic Growth

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