Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Ice is nice
Given that justice might be likened to a drug for the feeling of euphoria it brings that is all too often fleeting with the high hope fading and in its wake, a legacy of disappointment and failure to live up to the spirit of justice, I think I might be forgiven this cheap pun ('ice' being meth's street name, if the American movies I watch are to be believed) to mark Iceland's recent move to make it illegal to pay women less than men for equal work, adding a burden of proof on all employers to show that they are in fact complying with the law and actual punishments if they are found to be not complying. Imagine that! Actual punishments for non-compliance of a gender equality law. What is the world coming to?!
This is a world first indeed, though equal pay legislation has been in place there and in all democratic countries around the world since the 1970s, but has remained unequal not least because the majority of law enforcers in these countries have continued to be men who, it turns out, are not so fussed in practice about the equality and justice for all they have written endless theoretical treatise on ever since the Enlightenment in the 1770s.
But not in Iceland anymore. Today in Iceland equality becomes real, in large part because that country boasts an equal number of male and female parliamentarians. The commitment is to have 100% compliance with the law of equal pay for men and women by 2020.
So although I have no actual idea if ice is nice (I like a cube or two in my vodka), and have never been to Iceland, where there is clearly a great deal more to be charmed and chilled by than actual ice, I think this practical commitment to equality between the sexes and to honouring those Icelandic women who walked off their jobs, in home and out, to fight for this equality forty-plus years ago, is a sign that the world, one country cube at a time, is finally becoming actually enlightened to the practical challenges that real equality and justice between the sexes (and between humans) presents, thanks to the women who are enlightening those other people in the world who are not women. And that, my friends, is nice. Nice ice.