Gender Equality a Catch-22 Issue in Estonia, Says Presidential Adviser ({{commentsTotal}})

Iivi Anna Masso Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

After a report placed Estonia 59th in gender equality in the world, far behind Latvia and Lithuania, presidential adviser Iivi Anna Masso said that the issue in Estonia seems to be stuck in an endless loop.

People say that women are paid less because they do not approach employers for a raise, while the attitude of society is that women are worth less because they are not brave enough to ask for a raise, Masso said, speaking to on Friday.

“The situation in politics is similar. The norm is that five famous politicians are interviewed and asked whether they should be the prime minister or president or whoever. I believe the subject should be approached far more closely - why fewer young women choose politics, and what attitudes and mentality keeps them away,” Masso said.

The World Economic Forum's annual Global Gender Gap Report ranked Estonia far below Latvia (12th) and Lithuania (28th) as the most gender equal nation out of 136. The report said the biggest problem was in politics.

Estonia was ranked 29th only seven years ago.

“At the last local election debate between candidates for Tallinn, there were six male mayoral candidates and five male journalists. We have to pose the question that if we have on average more women than men, and women are on average more educated, then why is the situation like it is,” said Masso.

She said that in many indexes Estonia is at the very top, like IT-opportunities, democracy and freedom, and that studies need to be done to get to the bottom of why the country then lags in gender equality.

The Ministry of Social Affairs is preparing a 22-member gender equality council, with Masso named as its potential head.

The council would have funds to conduct such studies.

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