Women's representation in Estonia's Riigikogu election is growing steadily

The riigikogu sitting.
The riigikogu sitting. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Although the percentage of women on party lists has steadily increased in comparison to prior elections, experts believe there is still room for improvement. However, there is hope that the next parliament will have more women than ever before.

There are now 652 male candidates and 316 female candidates, with a ratio of 67 percent men to 33 percent women.

The SDE has the most female candidates in the current party comparison, followed by the Greens and Eesti 200.

EKRE and Isamaa have the fewest number of female candidates. ERR has assessed the proportion of women on the 125 candidate lists presented by political parties for the March 5 Riigikogu elections.

The EKRE election list has the fewest women, with only 23 women represented.

There are 28 women on the Isamaa electoral list, 38 on the Center Party list, 41 on the Parempoolsed list and 44 on the Reform Party list.

Isamaa has only nominated Riina Solman in the Tallinn districts of Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine.

From the Center Party, Siret Kotka is the front-runner in Lääne-Viru County.

Of the women on the EKRE list, Moonika Helme is the leading candidate in Hiiu, Lääne and Saaremaa.

The front-runners for the Estonian 200 are Johanna-Maria Lehtme in Tallinn's Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine districts, Irja Lutsar in Jõgeva and Tartumaa, Kristina Kallas in Tartu, and Kadri Tali in Pärnu County.

The SDE has nominated Riina Sikkut to become the first candidate for Tallinn's Mustamäe and Nõmme districts, Marina Kaljurand as the first candidate of Harju and Rapla County, and Piret Hartman as the first candidate of Ida-Viru County and Krista Aru as the first candidate of Tartu.

Right-wing leader Lavly Perling is standing as the front-runner in Harju and Raplaimaa, Triin Uueni in Lääne-Viru County and Põim Kama in Võru, Valga and Põlva Counties.

The Greens are represented by Liina Freivald in Tallinn's Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine districts, co-leader Johanna-Maria Tõugu in Tallinn's Kesklinna, Lasnamäe and Pirita districts, Helina Tilk in Tallinn's Mustamäe and Nõmmel districts, Piret Räni in Järva and Viljandi districts and Liina Reimann in Pärnu County.

Hänni: We will have more women in the Riigikogu than ever before 

Liia Hänni, a former politician and social activist, said that political parties are accountable for the proportion of women in elections since they create the lists and the number of women they invite to their lists impacts the final outcome.

"There has been no rise in the number of women candidates this year, but I dare to predict that we will have more women than ever before in the Riigikogu this year." She said that this is made possible by the increase of the number of women on electoral lists.

Hänni also made a comprehensive statistical assessment of the geneder balance in the parliamentary elections, which she posted on her Facebook page. "I introduced an index of how I ranked the different political parties. There were three crucial factors. One was the number of women who ran at he electoral districts. The second criterion was the number of women women in the top 10 of the national list, and the third was the number of women on the entire list of 125 candidates," she explained.

Veske: Women's representation in politics is unacceptably low

Christian Veske, who starts his office as commissioner for equality on Thursday this week, said that the general level of women's participation in politics is unacceptably low.

"In the context of the current elections, it is clear that some parties have a long way to go before their candidate lists have equal numbers of men and women. However, every party's candidate list has capable and experienced women."

"At the same time, the position of women candidates on the lists must also be taken into account. Clearly, men still have the most power in politics, and women tend to be in the background," Veske said.

He said that political parties can do a great deal more to encourage women to enter politics. "There is also a possibility that the parties agree on guidelines for making lists that are as representative as possible."

There are 27 women in the last, the XIV Riigikogu.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Epp Ehand, Jaan-Juhan Oidermaa, Kristina Kersa

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