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Economy Ministry: Transparency needed to bring gender equality

January 7, 2014 20:20

Lawmakers work on bill encouraging equal pay for men and women in private and government-owned companies.

The Knesset.

Knesset 370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The Economy Ministry expressed full support for a bill requiring furthering gender equality in salaries paid in the public and private sectors in a Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women Tuesday.

The Bill for Accessibility and Use of Gender Data, proposed by committee chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and signed by MKs from seven parties, calls for employers to consider gender equality in determining workers’ salaries. In addition, private and government- owned companies will have to provide information on workers’ pay by gender.

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“The way to change the reality and bring equal pay through transparency and setting goals,” said Economy Ministry representative Inna David Sultanovich, the ministry’s regional commissioner for Jerusalem and the Negev.

Other ministries were less enthusiastic about the legislation.

Though the Justice Ministry is led by a woman, Tzipi Livni, its legal advisers had reservations about the bill and have yet to take an official position on it. The Finance Ministry also expressed hesitations about the proposal.

“One of the biggest employers in the country is the government and it discriminates in pay,” Israel Women’s Network’s legal department manager Dana Maor Mandel pointed out. “Maybe ministries oppose the bill because they don’t want to be sued.”

Business owners attending the meeting also complained about problems with the bill, saying it will lead to unemployment.

“Why is it that whenever women’s rights come up, suddenly everyone talks about every other issue, like unemployment and reservists?” Lavie asked. Following a complaint that the bill would “change the status quo,” Mandel retorted: “That’s exactly what we want.”

The legislation will be brought to a vote in the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women next month ahead of its first plenum reading.
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