On Equal Pay Day on Monday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas pointed out that Estonians as a society should see the gender pay gap as a significant societal problm and take clear steps to address it.
"The gender pay gap is a significant societal problem for Estonia which requires increased attention and clear measures for combating inequality," said Ratas according to a government press release. "According to Europstat data, our pay gap of 26.9 percent puts us at the very top in the European ranking; this situation has remained unchanged for several years now. Our message here should be clear and unambiguous — men and women must receive equal wages for the same job."
The prime minister noted that differences in wages were not only visible once a month, on payday, but rather bring on a variety of negative factors which affect society and inequality on a broader scale. "The difference in wages carries on from work life to retirement; women's lower wages affect the daily lives and future of their children," said Ratas. "The wage gap also forces women into economic dependency in intimate relationships. We need to stop discrimination against women in order to improve quality and a sense of security in society.
"The incumbent government has clearly stated in their action program that we are working on decreasing the gender pay gap, increasing the percentage of women in governance and encouraging balanced electoral lists," he commented.
According to Ratas, important activities in decreasing the pay gap include contributing to women's support centers and victim support services, combating violence against women and domestic violence as well as improving the availability of flexible parental leave, parental benefits and kindergarten spots.
"All of these are measures that can, in the long run, lead to a decrease in the gender pay gap," said the prime minister. "However, in addition to changes in legislation, there i a need for changes in social attitudes as well."
Editor: Aili Vahtla