By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would impose a fine on companies and employers that do not pay equal wages to men and women.
“The wage difference between men and women violates the principle of isonomy enshrined in our Constitution and current legislation,” said Senator Fernando Bezerra Coelho, who introduced the bill in Senate.
“Despite the numerous gender equality policies promoted by the most diverse organizations, whether public or private, there are still cases of discrimination against women regarding pay,” added the congressman.
According to Coelho, the average wage gap between men and women reaches 23 percent in micro and small enterprises, and 44.5 percent in medium and large enterprises.
The numbers, according to the senator are part of the 2014 Yearbook of Women Entrepreneurs and Workers in Micro and Small Companies.
According to data from the National Confederation of Workers of the Financial Sector (Contraf-CUT) women in the banking sector receive, on average, 17.8 percent less than their male counterparts in Brazil.
For the president of Contraf-CUT, Juvandia Moreira, the numbers attest to the gender discrimination in the sector and an aggravating factor in the banking sector is that women tend to have higher education, but still ‘the best jobs and salaries stay with men’.
To reduce the inequality, the bill approved on Wednesday in Brazil’s Senate also provides a fine for the employer that, in addition to sex, consider the age, color or family situation as a determining variable for purposes of remuneration, vocational training and opportunities for career advancement.
For Coelho the bill’s objective is to increase the punishment of companies that pay different salaries for men and women who perform the same function.
“The struggle cannot be only of women, but of all of us who defend the construction of a more just society,” he concluded.
The bill now goes to the Chamber of Deputies for analysis and voting.