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Gender Equality

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Gender equality situation in Estonia

According to the EIGE Gender Equality Index, Estonia scores 60.7 points out of 100, which ranks Estonia 18th in the European Union. The score of Estonia is 7.2 points below the EU score. Closest to gender equality are Sweden (83.8 points) and Denmark (77.4 points), while Greece (52.2 points) and Hungary (53 points) have the largest gender gap.


Approximately 15% of women work part time, compared to 7% of men. On average, women work 37 hours per week and men work 40 hours. The distribution of men and women in different sectors of the labour market continues to be a problem: 25% of women work in education, healthcare and social work, compared to 4% of men. There are significantly fewer women (10%) than men (40%) in positions related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


According to Eurostat 2018 data, the gender pay gap in Estonia was 22.7%. This is the largest gender pay gap in the EU in hourly wages. Women in a relationship who have children earn less than women in a relationship without children.

Gender gaps are present at all educational levels: women with a low, medium or high level of education earn around a third less than men. Those most at risk of poverty are: single people, especially women (58% of women vs 45% of men), women aged 65 and older (48%), women with a low level of education (44%) and women with a disability (40%).


There is major gender segregation in vocational and higher education in Estonia: men are underrepresented among teaching staff at lower levels of education, whereas women are strongly underrepresented among decision-makers in education and research. Women have a higher level of education than men, but it does not ensure them job and career opportunities that correspond to their education and qualifications. The leading researchers are predominantly men.

Compared to men, there are fewer women in Estonia among ICT graduates (30%) and specialists (23%) as well as researchers in technology and engineers (23%).


Women have a larger burden of care compared to men: 35% of women spend at least an hour per day on tasks related to daily care and education, compared to 31% of men. Among couples with children, daily care activities are carried out more by women (92%) than men (66%).

There is still a large gap in the distribution of daily household activities: 76% of women and 47% of men spend time every day on cooking and other housework. This gender gap is even greater among couples with children.


Gender inequality is the most pronounced in the domain of power, although the score has increased since 2010 (by 14.2 points). Gender inequality in decision-making levels of society is reflected in the representation of men and women in politics and other decision-making levels of the public and private sector. In the second quarter of 2021, the composition of the Riigikogu was 25.7% women and 74.3% men.


On average, women live nine years longer than men (82 years vs 73 years). On average, women have 59 healthy life years and men have 54 (compared to 52 and 48 in 2005).


See the Gender Equality Index on the EIGE website and compare the results of Estonia to other European countries.