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Equality & ethics are high on the agenda

Equality for all is essential, and Iceland rates highly in many global quality-of-life indexes. Iceland has been a front-runner in promoting gender equality, human rights, women's rights, and LBGTQ rights. All of these are integrated into our mindset and are now a given for Icelanders, politically and socially.

Important steps have been made towards gender equality in Iceland in past decades. Among achievements is the increased participation of women in politics, both at the parliamentary and municipal level. Important legislation has been passed to ensure a more equal society, such as legislation to increase the number of women in leadership positions, and to combat gender-based and sexual violence and harassment. Iceland has one of the highest rate of women’s labour force participation in Europe. Despite of this gender segregation of the labour market remains persistent i.e. gender-based differences in educational and career choices vary greatly between women and men. The wage gap between men and women has narrowed in recent years, and this applies equally to income from work, the unadjusted wage gap, and the adjusted wage gap.

Public attitudes towards queer individuals have improved considerably over recent years, and queer people have attained many legal milestones as a result. Annually, Iceland scores very high on the worldwide Social Progress Index in Inclusiveness and in Acceptance of gays and lesbians. The legal status of LGBT people in Iceland is one of the best in the world and the rights of the individual are protected in the country’s constitution, with registered partnership for same-sex couples becoming legal in 1996. In 2022 the Parliament adopted a parliamentary resolution on a LGBTI Action Programme for the period of 2022 – 2025 consisting of 21 actions aiming at improving LGBTI rights in Iceland

The Icelandic work ethic is strong, and people are eager to chip in wherever and whenever a job needs to be done. We believe these efforts should be acknowledged and respected, so we've made strides to promote equal pay and ensure a "living" wage. Our social security safety net for workers is more substantial than in many other countries and prevents people from "falling through the cracks." Furthermore, we have strong unions, and collaborative agreements are a rule rather than an exception.


  • In 1980, voters elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir as the first female head of state. And in 2009, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected as the first openly LGBT head of government. We also have the first female party in the government. Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum‘s Global Gender Gap Index in previous years due to women‘s political participation, high level of education and equal access to health care among other factors. However, it is important to be aware that there are still inequalities and power imbalances that are not assessed in the Index.
  • Reykjavik Pride has been an annual event in Reykjavik since 1999 but the first Reykjavik Pride Parade took place in August 2000. However, its history goes back to 1993 when Icelandic gays and lesbians first gathered in the city center of Reykjavik, demanding freedom and human rights. The protest was repeated in 1994. What was once a cozy little pride, initially visited by 1,500 onlookers, has blossomed and evolved into a week-long, colorful celebration that attracts over 100,000 guests worldwide. The Pride Parade gets more extensive and fabulous every year to convey messages addressing the realities of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • In 2017, the Icelandic Government instituted Equal Pay Certification for better wage transparency under the Gender Equality Act. Workplaces with more than 25 employees must prove that they pay their employees the same wage for the same job without discriminating based on sex or facing steep penalties. We believe this legislation is unique worldwide, and "opening the books" is a fundamental step toward full equality in the workplace. The Act on Equal Treatment in the Labour Market explicitly provides for the prohibition of all discrimination in the labour market, whether direct or indirect, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, life stance, disability, reduced working capacity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual characteristics or gender expression.