Implementation of central concepts

AuthorAnu Laas
3 Implementation of central concepts
3.1 General (legal) context
3.1.1 Surveys on the definition, implementation and limits of central concepts of gender
equality law
Gender equality is poorly studied and legal studies on gender equality are rare. Gender
studies are not integrated into a basic curriculum. The Ministry of Social Affairs carries out
gender equality monitoring every three years.27 The most recent monitoring was carried
out in 2016.28
In 2015, a study on the implementation of the Gender Equality Act was produced, which
proposed indicators for impact assessment of the equality law.29 The study covered
employers’ awareness of, attitudes towards and practices when implementing the Gender
Equality Act. The general conclusion of the study is that the awareness of the Gender
Equality Act among Estonian employers is low. Only 4 % of employers claimed that they
were well aware of this law. Most respondents (46 %) had heard about the Gender Equality
Act, but did not know the contents of the law. In approximately half the situations in which
discrimination in the workplace was described, employers were unaware whether such
situations were in accordance with the law. The study shows that employer s do not fully
understand the aim of gender equality and therefore they do not see any reason to
promote or care about gender equality.
3.1.2 Other issues
Ernits analysis of the Estonian Constitution from the perspective of participants offers
interpretations of valid constitutional norms and the present author participated” in the
debate on constitutional interpretation.30 Ernits (2019) provides an overview of the
interpretation and application of the equality principle by the Estonian Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, there are no cases on gender discrimination decided by the Estonian
Supreme Court.
Ernits (2019) has studied the systematicity of the constitution and the principle of equality
in the Estonian Constitution.31 ‘Ev eryone is equal before th e law’, establishes the general
fundamental right to equality, the sphere of protection of which embraces all spheres of
life. Case law has interpreted the phrasing of Article 12 of the Constitution several times.
For example, in 2002, the Constitutional Review Chamber observed, first of all, in relation
to the first sentence of Article 12(1) of the Constitution that:
‘…the Article does not expressly refer to a subjective right. It only states that
everyone is equal before the law. Nevertheless, these words embrace the right of a
person not to be treated unequally. The wording of the first sentence expresses,
27 The plan has changed and the next monitoring will be launched not before 2021. (Communication with the
Equality Policies Department.)
28 Ministry of Social Affairs (2016), Soolise võrdõiguslikkuse monitooring 2016 (Gender Equality Monitoring
29 Turk, P., Anniste, K., Masso, M., Karu, M., Kriger, T. (2015), Uuring Soolise võrdõiguslikkuse seaduse
rakendamisest ja indikaatorite väljaẗ̈tamine seaduse mõjude hindamiseks (Study on Implementation of
the Gender Equality Act and Proposed Indicators for Impact Assessment), Tallinn: Poliitikauuringute Keskus
30 Ernits, M. (2019), ‘Constitution as a System’ (‘Põhiseadus kui süsteem’). Dissertationes Iuridicae
Universitatis Tartuensis, No. 75. Tartu: Tartu University of Tartu Press.
31 Ernits, M. (2019), ‘Constitution as a System’ (‘Põhiseadus kui süsteem’). Dissertationes Iuridicae
Universitatis Tartuensis, No. 75. Tartu: Tartu University of Tartu Press.

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