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WCO addresses gender equality during a seminar on the Icelandic model of equal pay management

10 marzo 2017

At the invitation of the Embassy of Iceland in Brussels, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke at the seminar on "Equal Pay Management System - The Icelandic Model" held at the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Secretariat on 9 March 2017.  The Icelandic standard on Equal Payment System was published in 2012 to create a system confirming that women and men, working for the same employer, are paid equal wages and enjoy equal terms of employment for the same jobs or jobs of equal value.  The standard describes the process that companies and public institutions can follow in order to ensure equal pay within their organization, with the purpose of using it for certification of equal pay management systems.

After the opening addresses by the Ambassador of Iceland, Ms. Bergdís Ellertsdóttir, and the Minister of Social Affairs and Equality of Iceland, Mr. Thorsteinn Víglundsson, the speakers elaborated about the European Union (EU) initiatives and the Icelandic experience.  Iceland Customs, represented by its Director General, Mr. Snorri Olsen, has been a leading public institution in this respect and one of the few institutions certified by the Icelandic standard.  Ms. Unnur Ýr Kristjándóttir, Managing Director of Human Resources,
Iceland Customs, shared her experience and the national perspective of a public institution. 

Secretary General Mikuriya talked about WCO initiatives in this domain, drawing on the successful International Women's Day celebration held the previous day at the WCO.  While progress appeared to be slow and at varying speeds among WCO Members, especially in terms ofmanagerial positions, he observed that awareness has been rising steadily and institutionalization of gender equality, as exemplified by Iceland's Equal Pay Management System, which could serve as good practice to inspire other countries. The seminar concluded with many insights into the Icelandic model and best practice on formalizing policies and processes related to pay decisions and improvements in human resource management.