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At the meeting with the representatives of the European Institute for Gender Equality today, the Social Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu noted that Estonia is halfway to guaranteeing gender equality. The gender equality index of Estonia is a little lower than the EU average. In the EU the index is 54, in Estonia it is 50.

“Estonia has one of the largest pay gaps between women and men. Whereas in Europe the gender equality index in the domain of money is 68.9, then in Estonia it is 49.1. When the pay gap is spoken of in Estonia, it is considered the complaining of women. But men should get acquainted with the results of research in Europe and change their attitude, because it is a serious problem. In a longer perspective, the existence of inequality will cost more to the society than gender equality,” said the Chairman of the Social Affairs Committee Margus Tsahkna.

The gender equality index assigns a score from 1 to 100. On this scale, 1 means total inequality and 100 means full gender equality. The index is used to measure both the general situation and six domains that are related to work, money, knowledge, time, power and health. High index is a mark of both overall good result and the equality between men and women.

For example, Estonia’s high level of education shows that the percentage of educated people in society is high. At the same time, the percentage of educated women among all women and the percentage of educated men among all men is more or less equal (the EU index is 48.9 and the Estonian index 53).

In Estonia, the index of time spent on caring for family members is above the average – the average time index of the EU is 38.8, in Estonia it is 51.4.

In Europe, the indexes of time and power are the weakest. In Estonia, too, gender equality has a weak position in the making of decisions and the distribution of power. In Europe the average index is 38, but in Estonia it is 27.5.

Work index shows how men and women participate in the labour market and what their position in the labour market is. In Estonia this index is below the EU average – in Europe 69.9, in Estonia 64.6.

According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, the average health index in Europe is 90.1, the closest to gender equality. The health index of Estonia is 83.8.

The purpose of the index is to measure gender equality in the domains that have been highlighted in the EU strategies and are of importance for achieving the set objectives. The first gender equality index was calculated for 2010, and it is planned to publish the index every two years in the future.

This important issue was discussed today at the Social Affairs Committee with the representatives of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) Anna Rita Manca and Christian Veske.

More information about the gender equality index can be found on the EIGE website at http://eige.europa.eu/content/gender-equality-index

The Riigikogu Press Service