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Kahlon calls to enforce equal pay for women

Parties show their feminist bona-fides at women's organizations conference.

February 25, 2015 15:43
2 minute read.
Moshe Kahlon

Koolanu chairman Moshe Kahlon. (photo credit: IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHERS)

Party leaders and MKs from across the political spectrum talked about policies to help women at a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening.

Lawmakers from all non-haredi parties answered questions posed by Channel 2’s Dana Weiss at the event organized by the Israel Women’s Network, women’s organizations group Partnership, and online women’s magazine Onlife.

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Koolanu chairman Moshe Kahlon said he only became aware of “women’s problems” in the workplace once his daughter joined the workforce.

“At the next conference, you’ll be able to call me a male feminist,” Kahlon declared. He said the first thing that needs to be done is to enforce existing laws mandating equality.

“We need to get rid of the concept of women as secondary breadwinners,” he said.

Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog also addressed the wage gap, saying that the reason it has yet to be closed is that most senior Finance Ministry bureaucrats are men who don’t care about the issue, and the same is true in the private sector.

“Changes have been made, but I admit that they are not enough,” he added.

Zionist Union No. 2 Tzipi Livni, who took the stage with Herzog, announced that she is a feminist.

When asked why there are so few women in key defense and foreign policy positions, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz of the Likud said: “A woman can be defense minister.

A defense minister does not have to be a former general.

Women are worthy, but it has to be someone who understands defense.”

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said most contract workers are women, and the first law she plans to pass is one requiring government offices to hire all employees directly.

Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked said that laws only allowing religious – not civil – marriages are not discriminatory against women. Shaked also said she would never vote for a party that did not include women on its list.

Aida Tuma-Saliman, fifth on The Joint (Arab) List, said a feminist agenda must include fighting for the rights of everyone who is depressed and ending war and bloodshed.

“Why do women suffer from the economic situation? Because the money is invested in the occupation,” she stated.

“I can’t support the thought that women’s power will be used to support wars.”

MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Yisrael Beytenu) pointed out that when she works on laws to help women – like extending maternity leave – they help all women and their children, including Arabs.

“Our job is to give children a toolbox so they can meet their potential,” she said, “and it shouldn’t depend on how much money their parents can invest, but how much the country can give them.”

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