It's now illegal to pay women less than men in Iceland in world first

Iceland has become the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work.

The law passed by Iceland's government means that companies with more than 25 staff must prove that they abide by equal pay for equal work.

The bill was tabled and passed on International Women's Day in 2017 but only came into effect on January 1, 2018.

Supporters outside the Icelandic Parliament on March 8, 2017, the day the equal pay bill was passed. Source: AAP

Companies will now face fines if it is found that men are being paid more than women doing the same job.

Although Iceland is regarded as one of the most socially progressive countries in the word, until now Icelandic women have, on average, earned 14 to 18 per cent less than their male counterparts, Global News Canada reports.

The North Atlantic island nation's government has stated that it wants to totally eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022.

The government of Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, pictured, has pledged to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. Source: AAP

"The time is right to do something radical about this issue," Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said at the time the bill was passed.

"Equal rights are human rights.

"We need to make sure men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace.

"It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that."

The World Economic Forum has rated Iceland the most gender-equal country for more than a decade. Source: Getty

The World Economic Forum has rated Iceland as the most gender-equal country in the world for more than a decade, followed by Norway, Finland, Rwanda and Sweden.

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