Framework Conditions in Estonia

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Estonia hast the highest gender pay gap in the EU with currently 25.6 per cent despite the fact that both the share of women in the labour market and working full-time are relatively high comparing to other European countries.

Two main reasons for the large wage gap can be identified:

- the Estonian labour market is both vertically and horizontally segregated. Significant income differences between the the sectors can be shown.

- women tend to break their careers for a relatively long period of time due to a lack of daycare facilities for children and a rather inflexible parental leave benefit system.[1]

National Action Plan to Reduce the Gender Pay Gap

In 2012, the Estonian government has adopted an action plan to reduce the gender pay gap. This action plan acknowledges that reducing the gender pay gap is a complex issues and the gender pay gap needs to be tackled from different perspectives simultaneously. The action plan includes the following aspects:

1) improving the implementation of the existing Gender Equality Act (e.g. improvement of the collection of statistics, awareness raising, support of the work of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner etc.),

2) improving the family, work and private life reconciliation;

3) promoting gender mainstreaming, especially in the field of education;

4) reducing the gender segregation; and finally,

5) analysing the organizational practices and pay systems in the public sector.[2]


  1. Closing the Gap: Fact Sheet Estonia
  2. European Commission: The EU Mutual Learning Programme in Gender Equality. Tackling the gender pay gap, 2016


European Commission: The EU Mutual Learning Programme in Gender Equality. Tackling the gender pay gap, 2016

European Commission: Report on strenghtening the principle of equal pay between men and women through transparency

European Commission: Facts and Figures on the Gender Pay Gap

Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes: Gesetzgebung zur Entgeltgleichheit im internationalen Vergleich

European added value of applying the principle of Equal Pay for men and women for equal work or work of equal value - Research Paper

Closing the Gap: Fact Sheet Estonia