International Women’s Day took center stage in the Histadrut labor federation’s leadership race Wednesday, as Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich accused incumbent Avi Nissenkorn of not doing enough in the post to help women.
If Yacimovich wins the May 23 race, she will become the Histadrut’s first female head in the history of the union, which was founded in 1920. She complained that whenever women took a leading role in the Histadrut, they were sent to Na’amat, its women’s organization.
“What do you think about a feminist woman head after a century of chairmen who were men?” Yacimovich asked on her Facebook page.
Yacimovich complained that women make 30% less than men.
“We have already accomplished so much,” she wrote. “The right to vote and be elected, to obtain a higher education, to own property, to not be beaten or harassed are relatively new rights from a historical perspective,” she wrote. “Equality of wages and in the workplace, with a sane family life and leisure are not a crazy fantasy but an achievable goal.”
Yacimovich said labor unions all over the world work for gender equality, citing a law in Finland that guarantees for women raises that are 2% higher than for men. She said she was involved in amending a law requiring equal wages for men and women.
Yacimovich said that she succeeded in lengthening parental leave in a bill she passed together with Gideon Sa’ar, but that the Histadrut did not help at all. It was the first time parental leave had been extended since 1952.
Nissenkorn did not react to Yacimovich, but he wrote a message on Twitter together with Na’amat head Galia Wolloch that women do not receive high enough wages in Israel, and that they would work to fix the gender gap.
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