Schyman wants fund to boost women’s pay

If Sweden’s Feminist Initiative gets its way, the government might have to cough up billions of kronor to create a fund to help businesses raise women’s salaries.

“The salary is the basis for everyday security,” said Gudrun Schyman, spokeswoman for the Feminist Initiative — who abandoned her role as leader of the Left Party in 2003.

“The government has a responsibility to take action when systematic discrimination is taking place,” Schyman said.

According to Statistics Sweden, women earn on average 83 percent of the average man’s salary. A part of the reason is believed to be that women work in jobs and sectors with lower incomes, a part of what is termed the “unexplained” salary difference.

The Feminist Initiative wants the entire salary difference to vanish now.

Schyman wants the government to set aside 5 billion kronor, which the country’s employers would contribute through a 0.5 percent higher payroll tax.

Companies should be able to tap into this government fund to increase salaries for women. Schyman said the proposal would amount to about a 600 kronor bump in individual salaries each month.

The Feminist Initiative is hoping for the election of its first members of parliament in Sunday’s election. Polls so far show the party falling below the four per cent threshold needed to gain seats in the Riksdag.