An index that protects LGBTI+ employees

The Ministry of Welfare is shaping a workplace equality index, that could be used to assess and certify whether Icelandic companies meet the right criteria and lead a good example in looking out for the rights and well-being of LGBTI+ workers. The index, which is being shaped in co-operation with Samtökin ’78, is based on an European model, with the biggest inspiration coming from IKEA.

Eygló Harðardóttir, Minister of social affair and housing, hopes that a workplace equality index would raise awareness for the well-being of LGBTI+ employees.

“It’s an idea that we got when attending the IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia in Copenhagen earlier this year, “ says Eygló Harðardóttir, Minister of Social Affairs and Housing. “I was intrigued by how much attention the Danes paid to queer issues in the workplace. There were several companies presenting their employment policies and how they ensure diversity and prevent discrimination. It’s obvious that they don’t see Corporate Social Responsibility as a façade that they present out in society, but also implement that responsibility in their interior operation.”

Eygló mentions IKEA in Denmark as a good example, a workplace with over 1000 people and very well-defined policy where LGBTI+ employers are taken into consideration. “Most companies here in Iceland have less than ten employees, so we would have to adapt and structure our own version of this index. But it would help to be able to assess and certify companies that meet the right criteria and lead a good example in looking out for the rights and well-being of LGBTI+ workers.”

Eygló hopes that a workplace equality index would raise awareness for the well-being of LGBTI+ employees and be encouraging for companies and corporations to look into their own employment policies and workplace environment. “So often we are focusing on what is negative but I’m hoping that it will become desirable for Icelandic companies to receive positive publicity. If they strategically ensure equality and banish discrimination, influencing other employers and spread positive atmosphere around workplaces in general, then that should improve their image and the job market.”

“This might also possibly lead to Iceland finally passing a law against discrimination in the job market, which is something I think is absolutely vital for us to do.”

She says such an index would have to be adapted to the number of small businesses in Iceland and that possibly this would entail co-operation with parties to the labour market etc. “This might also possibly lead to Iceland finally passing a law against discrimination in the job market, which is something I think is absolutely vital for us to do,” Eygló adds, pointing out that Iceland  is one of few European countries that haven’t done so. “Which is certainly one of the reasons why we didn’t rank higher on the Rainbow Chart,” she says referring to a report that showcases the current state of play of the laws, policies and practices that affect LGBTI people in Europe today.

Iceland ranks at only 14 on the 2016 Rainbow Europe Chart, as reported. Does the minister hope that the implementation of such a workplace index would help authorities to get a higher score in the chart?
“My interest in a workplace equality index is not based on that Iceland can do better on some international score sheet; I simply think this would improve Icelandic society. To ensure that each and every one can flourish and be who they want to be, is why I am a politician. But I do hope that when assessing Iceland, these are the sort of things that will be looked to.

And the minister has also recently further supported queer rights issues by allocating extra budget to the youth group of Samtökin ’78. “We were recently presented with shocking results of a survey about the condition of trans youths in Iceland and the youth group pointed to a big increase in demand for their consultation. So the Ministry decided to support their operation financially to ensure that trans children and teenagers receive the support that they need.”

We notice that when assessments and comparisons are being made internationally, there’s much focus on the format, the legal aspects and regulations, rather than how things are in reality. We can’t just keep passing laws and regulations; we have to enforce them too. For instance, Iceland reached gender equality according to the law long time ago, but in practice we’re still struggling with attitudes and discrimination in society.”

Eygló points out the sad fact that only a few decades ago, openly LGBTI+ people moved away from Iceland as they didn’t feel welcome in Icelandic society, and then even years later when they returned, their biggest obstacle was usually to get a job. “Employment is such a big part of how Icelanders define themselves; we introduce ourselves and then our job title follows which is not necessarily the same the world over. Iceland has one of the highest percentages of participation in the job market and that’s why I think it’s so important that everybody is included and able to be active, working at whatever they fancy, not told to do this or do that because they’re this way or that way.”

The workplace index idea is now being shaped and might possibly be included in an action plan for queer rights, that’s being drawn up in the ministry by a committee that was appointed by Eygló in 2014. “We were really inspired by the conference in Copenhagen and started wondering how we could include this in the action plan. I was not the only one inspired by the conference, but also the representatives of the national queer organization Samtökin ’78. So hopefully we will see the index being a part of the committee’s suggestions,” Eygló explains, knowing full well that with regards to the uncertainty in Icelandic politics , it might be down to her successor in the Ministry to carry the torch.

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

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    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

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      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
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        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

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        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

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        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

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          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

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