Iceland has made it illegal to pay women less than men

The World Economic Forum has released its annual study on gender equality, and Canada once again is ranked 20th.    Not surprisingly, the Scandinavian countries are once again at the top of the rankings, where the state and strong unions are very actively involved in regulating the economy and redistributed wealth. Perhaps it’s time to write to our ‘feminist’ Prime Minister.

Iceland fan flag

Clive Rose/Getty Images

  • A new law in Iceland making it illegal to pay women less than men came into effect on January 1, 2018.
  • Companies will now have to obtain certification for demonstrating equal pay.
  • Iceland has been ranked the best in the world for gender pay equality for 9 years in a row.

Iceland has made it illegal to pay men more than women.

A new law enforcing equal pay between genders came into effect on January 1, 2018, according to Al Jazeera.

Under the legislation, firms that employ more than 25 people are obliged to obtain a government certificate demonstrating pay equality, or they will face fines.

The law was announced on March 8 on International Women’s Day 2017 as part of a drive by the nation to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022.

Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, told Al Jazeera: “The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations … evaluate every job that’s being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally.” MORE


‘Equality won’t happen by itself’: how Iceland got tough on gender pay gap

Building the movement for good jobs, social justice, and a livable climate

“If you’re: fighting for a livable climate; fighting for a just transition for workers; fighting for Indigenous rights; fighting pipelines and other fossil fuel expansion projects; fighting attacks on public services and workers’ rights; fighting Scheer, Ford, Kenney, etc., and the rising forces of far right extremism they’re amplifying; let’s talk about how we can work together on it.” –Dylan Penner, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner, The Council of Canadians

Photo from Climate Justice Climatique Ottawa
Photo: Climate Justice Ottawa

At the intersections of the climate crisis and the system that created it there is much work to be done.

This is true in the sense that there are many more good jobs to be had in a just transition to a low carbon economy than there are in fossil fuel expansion. It’s true in the sense that we have a lot of organizing to do to win a future that avoids the worst possible outcomes of the climate crisis.

It’s also true that this is a necessity in the face of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report this past Fall that warned we have until 2030 to change course.

I’m looking forward to contributing to this urgent work as the Council of Canadians’ new Climate and Social Justice Campaigner.

A key part of this work will be supporting efforts to win a Green New Deal, similar to what movement organizers and progressive Democrats are pushing for in the United States.

A Green New Deal in Canada has the potential to accelerate our collective work for jobs, social justice, and a livable climate. It’s true it’s ambitious, but that’s the point. And it’s a necessity if we want to avoid climate breakdown.

The upsurge of support for and awareness of a Green New Deal is a huge opportunity to win significant gains in pushing the Canadian government to set and meet much bolder climate commitments, create a just transition that ensures good jobs for workers, respects Indigenous rights and climate justice, and throws neoliberal “solutions” into the dustbin of history. MORE 

The Green New Deal’s supporters hope to harness power of narrative with Federal Writers’ Project

The stories we tell us are important.  Stories are a way for Ocasio-Cortez and the plan’s supporters to start to take control of the Green New Deal’s

The ambitious proposal echoes the legendary 1930s-era New Deal project that employed such greats as Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, and Zora Neale Hurston.

[Photos: Hannah Olinger/Unsplash; Daniel Chen/Unsplash; Francisco Gomes/Unsplash]

Any collective plan to avert planetary disaster will first need to harness the full powers of storytelling and mythology if it’s going to stand half a chance. That’s the main lesson of the wildly popular recent video, “A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a seven-minute film published by The Intercept (and based on an article by Kate Aronoff). Set a couple of decades in the future, it stands as a “flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion,” as the accompanying article by Naomi Klein puts it. Narrated by Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple, the film offers a peek at a future in which the Green New Deal has come to pass and Americans are benefiting from its life-affirming roster of policies, from Medicare and jobs to regenerative practices and a climate policy that has helped to stop the planet from burning down.

The film’s creators offer it as the first art project of the Green New Deal, a powerful attempt to bring the plan’s still-vague, shimmering vision on the horizon into focus through an imaginative, futuristic story. It’s also a way for Ocasio-Cortez and the plan’s supporters to start to take control of the Green New Deal’s narrative and to pull us toward its magnetic, aspirational future, after what the congresswoman described as “intensely frustrating” controversies surrounding the legislation’s rollout. “It was done in a way that it was easy to hijack the narrative around it,” she said in an interview with a Yahoo News podcast that aired three days before her “Message From the Future” was released.

It’s this battle of stories, the fight to shape the narrative around the ongoing planetary collapse and our response to it, that will be the defining struggle of the war for a livable planet. It’s humanity’s singular storytelling ability that, unlike any other animal, has allowed us to behave like a super-organism, shaping and guiding our lives over the millennia, binding us through the creation of shared, vitalizing tales and mythologies. Storytelling is our superpower, as everyone from evolutionary biologists to Hollywood and advertising execs can tell us, and as a society we can only change as fast as our collective stories do. This is a topic well-explored in recent books like The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall, and in Silicon Valley-favorite Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Everyone from Obama to Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates has recommended Sapiens, which deals at length with how stories invent the basic “facts” that shape human societies, from nations to money itself (“money is probably the most successful story ever told,” as Harari has put it). “Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or tables, and the simpler the story, the better,” as Harari wrote for the New Yorker in 2016. It is stories that serve as the scaffolding of our material world and “myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers,” writes Harari.

Any Green New Deal effort that attempts to change the hearts, minds, and behaviors of hundreds of millions of people will likewise need to harness the full power of this storytelling capacity. As Ocasio-Cortez puts it in the video, “we found our shared purpose,” a shared purpose that will have to be collectively forged through storytelling. It will need to make use of every narrative device at our disposal to keep the story of a living future alive and possible. It’s now clear that it’s going to take far more than numbers and logical exhortations and measurements of per capita and parts per million of CO2 to tell this story in a way that moves us enough to act in time. As is well known by now, the technology to utterly transform and start to heal our physical landscape is already at hand—what’s needed now is the storytelling technology to transform mass consciousness and push it past the tipping point to the point that we’re still able to correct the course of our current apocalyptic trajectory. MORE


Doug Ford government one of the most ‘anti-environmental’ in generations, says Green Party leader

Environment Minister Rod Phillips says plan will keep Ontario on track to meet federal targets

Environment Minister Rod Phillips, seen here with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, is defending the province’s climate plan in the face of mounting criticism by environmentalists. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)

The Progressive Conservative government is defending its plan for the environment despite mounting criticism it’s not aggressive enough to make a difference in the fight against climate change.

“This government is being reckless with our future,” Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said.

Schreiner is critical of just about everything Doug Ford’s government has done with related files since taking power, many of which appeared in the budget:

“They’ve been one of the most anti-environmental provincial governments we’ve had in generations,” said Schreiner. MORE

This seems like a fitting response to all the neoliberal  climate deniers:

Trans Mountain tanks not built to withstand ‘sloshing’ oil during earthquake: engineer

Company says it has excellent emergency preparation procedures

tanks burnabymountian transmointinTanks at the Burnaby Mountain tank farm built in 1953 (not shown) may not be strong enough during a major earthquake, group says.

Trans Mountain is defending its emergency preparedness after a politician, engineer, activist and geologist stood outside its Burnaby Mountain tank farm to accuse the pipeline company of potentially endangering thousands of lives in the event of a major earthquake.

Burnaby North-Seymour federal NDP candidate Svend Robinson held a press conference Tuesday alongside Simon Fraser University geology professor John Clague, structural engineer Gordon Dunnet and anti-pipeline activist Karl Perrin.
Dunnet said existing Trans Mountain tanks could fail to hold their contents during an earthquake. While the company has published a report detailing how the tanks walls would withstand the ground-shaking forces during a quake, it does not take into account the force of sloshing oil within the tank.

The six tanks in question were built in 1953 and have moveable roofs that float on top of the oil. They were built to outdated standards without considerations made for lateral pressure from seismic or wind forces, Dunnet said.

While many people have raised concerns about the risks associated with the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline – which would add 14 new tanks to the Burnaby Mountain site – Dunnet said the existing infrastructure already poses a serious safety concern to the 30,000 people who live within two kilometres of the tank farm. MORE