The pay gap should not be blamed on women alone, Heljo Pikhof, a Social Democrat and head of the parliament’s social affairs committee said in comments on the recent study that indicated a slight growth in the pay gap.
“Women shouldn’t be blamed for accepting less in salary negotiations - the society considers it normal that women are more modest in their demands. If the salaries were public, everyone would have the means to ask for fair pay,” Pikhof told uudised.err.ee today.
Estonia's gender wage gap, already the biggest in the EU, continued to widen slightly in 2013, statistics published on Monday showed.
According to Pikhof, Estonians find it hard to shake the “Soviet” mentality, where women and their work were valued less than men.
“The pay gap has no one simple cause. One can assume that its roots go back to the differences in raising girls and boys, habits and prejudices also play a part, as if the job market of the 21st century were divided in to “woman’s jobs” and “man’s jobs” like in the prehistoric era,” she said, adding that the gap will decrease only once the society will start working on all manifestations of gender inequality.
Commenting on the statistics, the head of the Employers' Confederation Toomas Tamsar said there are some employers who deliberately pay women less than they pay men, and the cause is socially ingrained ideas of gender roles that take some time to disappear.
According to Tamsar, employers usually pay according to the perceived value of the employee and the problem will, in time, take care of itself, as women are increasingly better educated than men.
“Women should start by valuing themselves more highly and not undervaluing themselves, being bolder and more confident,” he said.