All ministers must work to reduce discrimination against women in the areas under their authority, according to a proposal by the Ministerial Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women approved by the cabinet on Sunday. The initiative was proposed by committee chairwoman Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Yael German, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz will have to report on their ministries’ activities to fight sexism within 90 days, and all other ministries will have an additional month to do so.
Discrimination against women is “opposed to the country’s values, specifically that of equality. I am sick of talk. We’re moving to action,” Livni told the ministers.
The ministers must take guidance from a report prepared on Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein’s instructions after many reports of inequity.
The staff preparing the document examined separation between men and women in cemeteries, government ceremonies, buses, and medical clinics.
According to the report, such separation “seriously harms the basic right to human dignity and equality” and that “separation often leads to violations of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.”
Following the ministers’ approval of the plan, Livnat and Livni said in a statement: “Elected officials in a democratic country were voted in not only to do their specific job but to protect democracy. Every minister is responsible for making sure that all rights of citizens of both genders in Israel are protected, not just that their ministries are working properly.
“Discrimination against women doesn’t only hurt women, but all of Israeli society,” the ministers added.
“History already proved that ‘separate but equal’ does not exist…A discriminatory society is week and not united.”
Livnat and Livni asserted that “reducing the unacceptable and despicable phenomenon of discrimination against women will lead not only to female empowerment, but to strengthening all of Israeli society, and it is our job as ministers to make sure it happens.”