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Gender Equality

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What is multiple discrimination?

Multiple discrimination is discrimination based on multiple grounds simultaneously.

Age, disability, sexual orientation, gender and belonging to a particular racial or ethnic group create obstacles for people in society.

For example, older Russian-speaking women have the largest pay gap in Estonia: gender, age and nationality (or the language spoken at home) all play a role.

In the context of the labour market, men of Estonian nationality without familial obligations are at an advantage, as they are considered the most suitable for leading, high-paid positions.

Explicit multiple discrimination is, for example, a situation where disability, age and gender play a role in recruitment – based on these characteristics, a middle-aged woman with a disability is excluded, although her experience makes her suitable for the position.

Achieving gender equality in society is also linked to positive and supportive attitudes towards people in the LGBT+ community. Homophobia, transphobia and heteronormativity, however, support the survival of rigid gender roles and the dualistic/binary gender system that accepts only certain ways of being a man or woman, such as the clear-cut, traditional gender roles of women and a certain feminine appearance. Heteronormativity as a cultural preconception favours sexual relations between men and women and opposes that of people of the same gender. Heteronormativity supports the persistence and reproduction of traditional gender roles, and thus maintains and perpetuates a culture that favours rigid gender roles. Therefore, heteronormativity impacts the opportunities of all men and women for free self-determination and personal fulfilment.

The types of multiple discrimination are intersectional discrimination and compound discrimination.

Intersectional discrimination is a situation where less favourable treatment occurs due to multiple personal traits simultaneously, but the grounds of discrimination are inextricably linked and affect each other and the effect of the different grounds is indistinguishable.

Compound discrimination is a situation with discrimination based on the combination of several grounds, but it is possible to distinguish the causal effect of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.