Table of Contents
The Estonian society has been historically very traditional and the gender roles that existed in the past have somewhat remained till this day. Considerably smaller wages, limited opportunities in the labour market, limited access to power and management and the difficulties combining family and work life are few of the problems that women have to deal with in Estonia. The main issues associated with men are low life expectancy, low educational level, and limited opportunities in the labour market.
The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.
The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.
In the Social Institutions and Gender Index 2014 Edition , Estonia was not classified in the SIGI due to lack of full dataset. It has lower discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here: http://www.genderindex.org/country/estonia
Public awareness of human rights issues in Estonia started to gradually develop after Estonia regained independence in 1991. According to Article 12 of the Constitution of Estonia everyone is equal before the law and no one shall be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other opinion, property or social status, or on other grounds. According to amendment in the Government of the Republic Act in 2000, the Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for promoting gender equality, coordinating work in this field and compiling drafts for corresponding legal acts. In 1996 the Gender Equality Bureau was established in Ministry of Social Affairs (in 2004 it was renamed as Gender Equality Department). A Law on Gender Equality has been enacted in Estonia since 2004. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender and obliges public bodies and employers to promote gender equality.
Although the employment rate of women aged 15-74 is relatively high (58.7% in 2013), the gender employment gap is still 7.1 percentage points, as the employment rate of men was 65.8% in 2013. The employment gap stems mainly from age group 25-49, as there are even slightly more women than men working in the age 50-64. Men are somewhat more affected by the unemployment. In 2013 the unemployment rate was 9.1% for men and 8.2% for women. Unlike in many other counties, most employed women in Estonia are working full time. Only 14.2% of women and 6.2% of men were working part time in 2013. Due to traditions, lack of childcare opportunities and remarkable shortage of part-time jobs (due to legislative framework), many Estonian women with small children tend to remain inactive. They return to full-time work only once their children have grown to age 2-3 (employment rate of the mothers of 0-2-years old children was 23.2% in 2013). One of the reasons why part-time work is not popular in Estonia is the low standard of living; part-time work does not ensure sufficient subsistence. The labour market in Estonia is highly segregated. The percentage of women is the highest in health and social work, education and retail trade — 80–90% of people engaged in these areas are female. The percentage of women is high also in financial intermediation, accommodation and food service. In construction, energy, land transport and forestry, the employees are mostly male. The percentage of women in these areas is below 25%. Due to segregation, but mainly for other reasons, the gender pay gap is quite high. Female gross hourly earnings in 2012 were 75% of male earnings.
The Education in Estonia is gender specific. Compared to men, women attend school longer and have higher educational level. Men tend to end their educational career earlier and they acquire less likely higher education. Women and men are in different fields of study and this tendency isn’t decreasing. In addition to that, most of the educational workers are women; they dominate every educational level, except in higher education.
Less young men are accepted to institutions of higher education because they cannot compete with young women at admission. In 2012, 130 females were admitted per one hundred men. The share of women in the total number of students acquiring higher education was 58%. The gender disproportion is certainly caused by the predominance of intended curricula for women as well. For example women prevailed in five out of eight fields of studies in bachelor’s studies; the female predominance was the highest in the fields of study of education and of health and humanitarian. More young men studied in natural and exact sciences (especially infotechnology) and in services. Business and administrative fields are the most popular for both male and female as in bachelor as well in master education level. All those young men who have succeeded in breaking into the higher education landscape do not unfortunately manage to stay there. The result is the aspect that much more women graduate higher education institutions than men – 204 female graduates per one hundred male graduates in 2012.
Women were given a right to vote and be elected in 1918. The Law on Gender Equality states that both genders should be represented in commissions, councils and in other appointed collegial bodies that are constituted by state and local government institutions. Since the 2011 elections, 20% of parliament members are women. Only 8% of the Government are women.
Statistical database of Statistics Estonia – http://pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/dialog/statfile1.asp
Mehe kodu on maailm, naise maailm on kodu? Mans Home is the World, Womans World is her Home? 2011 – http://www.stat.ee/49434
Employment and working life in Estonia 2010–2011 – http://www.sm.ee/fileadmin/meedia/Dokumendid/V2ljaanded/Toimetised/2012/series_20122eng.pdf
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law, 2012 presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women’s prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women’s economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.