Overall assessment

AuthorAnu Laas
12 Overall assessment
The following transposition problems were mentioned in this report:
1. Lack of adequate protection against victimisation. Victims and witnesses of
discrimination cases are afraid to make a complaint. Due to the specificity of a small
country and media at tention, the names of victims and wit nesses are made public
and it is hard to escape from victim blaming and complicated to find a new job.
2. No sanctions f or harassment by employer. However, there is the first judgment by
the Supreme Court of 17 June 2020 that the dismissal of employee because of sexual
harassment is rightful.
3. High gender pay gap not effectively tackled and pay transparency measures not
implemented. High gender pay gap leads to high gender pension gap.
4. High cost of legal advice and time-consuming proceedings.
5. Poor provision of acces sible and affordable social services by local government ,
inhabitants depend on local government’s personnel and financial capacity.
6. Inadequate financial support for sick an d disabled people, also inadequate finan ces
for sick and elderly care. Women are overrepresented in health and long -term care,
among informal carers the majority are women.
The transposition of the EU gender equality directives into Estonian legislation is
satisfactory. In September 2017, the Istanbul Convention was ratifi ed and entered into
force on 1 February 2018. The Penal Code was amended in June 2017 and the
amendments entered into force on 6 July 2017. Female genital mutilation, forced marriage
and stalking have been criminalised. These amendments also included a new article on
sexual harassment, which was classified as a misdemeanour.245 There are some c ourt
cases on stalking and sexual harassment in 2018-2019. However, prosecutors have
investigated hundreds of cases on stalking.
There have been only a few court cases on s ex discrimination. There a re several reasons
for th is, such as low awareness, low willingness to bring cases to court, a low political
commitment to equ ality issues, a nd li ttle exper ience regarding the protection of rights.
Obstacles could be the high cost of legal advice and the time-consuming proceedings.
Claims to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner and the labou r dispute
committees d emonstrate that there is discrimination against pregnant employees,
employees returning to work after parental leave and those with family obligations. Elderly
care is a high burden mostly on women’s shoulders. Legal requirement of two generations
up and down to be abl e to provide maintenance and care i s unfair, rigid and should be
changed. There should be a much more person-centred approach, case man agement and
support by the local government.
From the other perspective, there are those people who do not perceive that they are
discriminated against. Acceptance of traditional and rigid gender roles is still widespread
in Estonia. According to Eurobarometer (2017) on gender equality, 70 % of Estonians think
that the most important role of a woman is to take care of the home and fa mily.246
Gender mainstreaming is not implemented. However, the National Report Beijing +25
points to awareness-raising activities and the establishment of a competence centre at the
Office of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner in 2015.247 No positive
action measures are used for ensuring full equality in practice between men and women
245 Penal Code, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/509012018005/consolide.
246 European Commission (2017), Special Eurobarometer 465: Gender Equality 2017. Summary,
247 Estonian Government (2019), Twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and
adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995): Comprehensive national-level review
Estonia, (Estonian National Report Beijing +25),

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