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Iceland-topia

May 2008

Highest birth rate in Europe + highest divorce rate + highest percentage of women working outside the home = the best country in the world in which to live. There has to be something wrong with this equation.

'You extend your studies by a year, so what?' said Oddny. 'No way do you think when you have a kid at 22, "Oh my God, my life is over!" Definitely not! It is considered stupid here to wait till 38 to have a child. We think it's healthy to have lots of kids. All babies are welcome.'

All the more so because if you are in a job the state gives you nine months on fully paid child leave, to be split among the mother and the father as they so please. 'This means that employers know a man they hire is just as likely as a woman to take time off to look after a baby,' explained Svafa Grönfeldt, currently rector of Reykjavik University, previously a very high-powered executive. 'Paternity leave is the thing that made the difference for women's equality in this country.'

No wonder Iceland has the happiest people on earth

Jody commented:

They also have a very fair system of organising last names, which I think would help equality, in a funny sort of way.