Iceland just announced a no-nonsense plan to eliminate its wage gap in 5 years.

On Oct. 24, 2016, thousands of Iceland's women stopped working at 2:38 p.m.

At the time, the country's men were earning an average of 18% more for doing the same jobs.

So women decided they were going to work 18% fewer hours (hence walking off the job at 2:38 p.m.) for a day to prove a powerful point.


Thousands took off early and poured into the streets to voice their displeasure with the wage gap (which, hey, is actually a lot better than in most of the world but still needs to be fixed).

In early March 2017, not even five months later, things may finally be changing, in no small part thanks to the work of these protestors.

Government officials in Iceland just announced new legislation that would require companies to open their books and prove they're providing equal pay for equal work.

According to USA Today, the measure is expected to be approved by parliament because lawmakers across the political spectrum all agree that the wage gap needs to be fixed ASAP.

(That must be nice.)

"Equal rights are human rights," said Social Affairs and Equality Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson. "We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that."

Iceland won't be the first nation to enforce equal pay, but its policy is considered to be one of the most aggressive yet as it targets any company, public or private, with at least 25 employees.

The government is hoping measures like this one will help to completely eradicate the pay gap in the next five years.

This is a massive victory, not just for women, but for the power of engaged citizens who refuse to accept inequality.

The news out of Iceland comes hot off the heels of A Day Without a Woman, which called for women all over the world to strike — from work, from home duties, from the multitude of tasks they juggle day in and day out — to make their value known to the world in no uncertain terms.

❕❕❕

A post shared by Áslaug Lárusdóttir (@aslauglar_) on

Critics of the strike questioned its ability to make a difference since turnout would be smaller and more scattered than the massive Women's March that took place shortly after Inauguration Day.

But the citizens of Iceland are proof-positive that public demonstrations can and do work. It sounds trite, but when enough people come together to make their voices heard, people in power have no choice but to listen. Even if it seems like they're not.

Change may not happen overnight, or even in five months as it did in Iceland, but as the saying goes, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Sometimes, the arc just needs a couple thousand badass women forcing it to bend a little more quickly.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture