Kallas: Disturbing when a woman's only value is how many children she has

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Unfortunately, the scandalous survey by the Pere Sihtkapital foundation is hardly surprising as disturbing viewpoints according to which a woman's only value is in how many children she gives birth to have been voiced by Isamaa people in the past, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said.

I understand women who were greatly disturbed by the Pere Sihtkapital survey as the questions therein are personal and based on outdated stereotypes, Kallas said when commenting on the survey carried out among childless women.

"What bothers me is that a woman's only value is seen in how many children she gives birth to – that it is the extent of her worth. Such attitudes should no longer be around in 2023, which is vividly demonstrated in the "Barbie" movie," the PM said.

Kallas added that, unfortunately, the questions and attitude toward women are hardly surprising as Helir-Valdor Seeder, in the running for IRL chairman at the time, said in 2017 that the front line of Estonianness has reached Estonians' bedrooms. "That is what this survey is – taking a peek in people's bedrooms."

The premier also voiced concern over how the data was made available to Pere Sihtkapital, which works to erode people's trust in their state.

"Everyone has the right to privacy, and personal information must not be misused. I agree that data protection needs to be vigilant and situations like these must not be allowed to happen again."

Several proceedings are underway regarding the survey and how data was released, including by the Data Protection Inspectorate and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Office of the Prosecutor General on Monday tasked the police with investigating the matter. The latter told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news that they will decide in the coming days whether grounds exist for misdemeanor proceedings.

Women who wish to find out whether their personal information was released to the authors of the survey illegally can request the information from the data processor or file a complaint with the Data Protection Inspectorate. People can turn to court to seek compensation for possible non-material damage.

ERR reported last week that the Isamaa-backed Pere Sihtkapital demographics policy think tank pulled data on thousands of childless women from the Population Register on behalf of the University of Tartu and sent the women questionnaires involving personal and delicate questions, such as why they did not have any children.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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