Iceland has outlawed companies paying women less than men in the same roles.
This sounds very noble, however there are two major problems with this legislation.
Firstly, there are the privacy and ethics issues around companies having to divulge that sort of information to governments which should have nothing to do with private companies’ business in the first place.
Secondly, leaving libertarian politics aside for a moment, there is a bigger issue here, hiding in plain site. Quite frankly, as a women myself, I find it hugely disrespectful and insulting for anyone – much less a government who knows nothing about me and my capabilities – to assume that I need help negotiating a fair wage from the employer of my choice. Who do these bureaucrats think I am? Some pathetic, incapable female princess in need of “rescuing” from the big bad businessmen? How insulting.
It’s like a pushy helicopter mom forcing a eight year old bully to play with her own socially-challenged offspring. Nobody wins. The bully forced into playing with her child will resent both the mother and her child – he is unlikely to do her son any favours in the future. The child himself will be (or at least should be) horribly embarrassed about his mother stepping in to resolve a situation he really should have been able to handle himself.
The fact of the matter is, if a woman is incapable of negotiating the same wage for the same work as her male colleagues, she is probably inferior to said male colleague in a lot of other important business negotiations with clients and suppliers, and therefore not worth the equal pay in the first place. Sorry ladies, if you are worth the money, you can probably demand it – and get it – without the government holding your hand. Only an idiot will refuse to pay you what you are truly worth – and you really shouldn’t be working for an idiot anyway.
Anyone who has to be forced by a heavy-handed government to act within their own best interest is a poor choice of employer. At least when there is no legislation forcing their hand, you are able to identify these misogynists before you start working for them. When legislation forces a sexist idiot to disguise himself as a decent human being – well, you will only find out his true nature behind closed boardroom doors…
I write this as a women who has been promoted (and paid, mind you) ahead of male colleagues in every business I have worked for – without any help from the government, thank you very much.
*Not a spelling error. A reference to Terry Pratchett’s book by the same name, loosely related to the subject at hand