Petition Demands Gender Pay Gap Reduction
On April 19, the Social Democratic faction of Parliament and women's association KADRI organized an open-air rally and issued a petition to the government urging it to reduce the current 30.9 percent salary gap between men and women to 20 percent by January 1, 2013.
The changes must take place first in the public sector, including ministries, state-owned enterprises, and government agencies, read the petition.
Most Estonian women have a work-oriented lifestyle, as evidenced by the 7.3 percent employment rate gap between the two sexes - almost 50 percent smaller than the EU average.
The local labor market discriminates between the genders both in terms of profession and position, leaving women at the lower levels of the professional hierarchy, the petition stated. According to its authors, men's salaries are one-third higher than women's in both private and public sectors.
By contrast, approximately 50 percent of women have obtained a university degree, while only 43 percent of men have graduated with a higher education, according to the petition.
"Educated women in the medical, cultural, and educational fields, are underpaid considering their competence. [...] The lower salaries of women perpetuate poverty as old-age pension is directly related to salary."