Iceland just became the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women.
As of Jan. 1, firms in Iceland who have more than 25 employees must demonstrate pay equality in order to obtain a government certificate, the Mirror reports. If employers fail to prove pay equality between genders, those firms could face penalty fines.
The law was announced last year on March 8–the date pegged International Women’s Day–and aims to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022.
The World Economic Forum has routinely ranked Iceland as having the best gender equality, BBC reported. When ranked first in 2015, the unadjusted gender pay gap remained at 17 percent, according to Iceland's statistics for that year.
In Iceland's parliament, nearly 50 percent of lawmakers are women, and a voluntary measure for equal pay was introduced in 2012. Some in the country, however, still felt additional steps were necessary.
"The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organizations … evaluate every job that’s being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association told Al Jazeera.
"It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally," Pind added.