We’re proud to share that Taktikal has been awarded the Equality Scale - a recognition of our commitment to reaching gender equality in the workplace given by the Association of Businesswomen in Iceland (FKA - Félag kvenna í atvinnulífinu) to companies exemplifying gender equality by reaching a 40/60 ratio in top management.
The Nordic countries are generally known for being at the forefront of gender equality. They consistently rank among the top in the world for ensuring that there is access and opportunity across the board. And Iceland is no exception. In fact, it is currently ranked Number 1 in the world by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, closing more than 90% of the gender gap.
At Taktikal, we take this to heart by being active in ensuring that individuals of all gender identities feel supported and equal. In addition to promoting women to management positions, we also recently invited/sys/tur (the student association for women in computer science at Reykjavík University) to a chat at our offices to learn more about their aspirations and what is important to them in a workplace. We are also involved with Vertonet (in Icelandic), the association of women in tech in Iceland, whose aim it is to increase the number of women and non-binary people in the tech industry.
Looking back on equality in Iceland
The prioritization of equality is not new in Iceland. Back in 1975, there was a women’s march - where 90% of the population identifying as women took part in a strike. From housewives to office workers, women took to the streets to demonstrate the significance of their daily contribution to society. The strike lasted 1 day. There are reports that grocery stores ran out of hot dogs, as dads suddenly found themselves in charge of feeding hungry kids.
A more recent strike in 2018 might have caught your attention - Icelandic women left their workplaces at 2:55pm to protest against income inequality and harassment in the workplace. This time was strategically chosen: statistics showed that income for women was just 26% lower than that of men, so women left the office 26% earlier.
These strikes (and others throughout the years) had a profound impact on how the country handles gender equality in all facets of modern living - from healthcare to income, from parental leave to requirements for company board representation of 40% women.
Action leading to continued action
Although considered a leader in arguably progressive measures taken to ensure gender equality, Iceland has gone beyond that to prevent any tendency toward complacency. Being acknowledged as one of the best places in the world for gender equality does not mean that the society can sit back and relax - instead, it means reinforcing these measures in daily life.
The Directorate of Equality (previously known as the Centre for Gender Equality) was established in 2000 to tend to all matters concerning upholding the commitment to equality in Iceland and is under the administration of the Prime Minister.
Education is a big part of instilling gender equality in the Icelandic psyche. In the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men, Article 23 clearly lays out the requirements that throughout a child’s experience in school, all activities including sports, as well as all educational materials should be free from gender discrimination and bias.
A more inclusive approach
Today, the Directorate of Equality focuses on three main acts that address equal treatment across all areas of Icelandic society: the Act on Equal Rights and Equal Status Irrespective of Gender (150/2020), the Act on Equal Treatment Irrespective of Race and Ethnic Origin (85/2018), and the Act on Equal Treatment in the Labor Market Irrespective of Race, Ethnic Origin, Religion, Life Stance, Disability, Reduced Working Capacity, Age, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Sexual Characteristics or Gender Expression (86/2018).
These Acts are designed to promote unbiased education, build measures and actions to prevent discrimination, and monitor the development of all things equality related in Icelandic society. It’s certainly an extensive range of responsibilities, but the current state of equality in Iceland arguably shows that the Directorate is up to the task.
The gender gap in the workplace
While Iceland can comfortably say that steps are actively being taken towards continuing to close the gender gap, there are still industries and situations where the gap is occasionally more pronounced. Workplaces tend to get a considerable amount of attention due to factors such as equal pay, treatment, and leave allowances.
Not just in Iceland but around the world, the tech industry is largely considered a male-led and dominated work culture. Countless times, we’ve seen people come forward from tech companies sharing their experiences with gender discrimination.
That’s why it’s even more important for tech companies to be cognizant of these seemingly intrinsic biases, and take steps to promote an equal and supportive working environment. Tech companies can choose to stand up and become leaders in equality. That’s why we here at Taktikal are thankful to be given the Equality Scales award, and will continue to reinforce our commitment to equality in the workplace.