Gender equality is a fundamental value of the EU. Nonetheless, gender disparities are acute socially, economically, culturally, and politically. Fewer women work full-time, earn as much as men and have access to high-power positions in the society. In terms of several gender equality indices, such as female mean income and female representation in government, Estonia scores lower than the EU on average. Estonia’s gender pay gap of 26.9% is the largest in the EU.

One of the main keys for improving gender equality is to increase women’s presence and influence in the society by drawing more women to leadership positions, especially political decision-making on the highest and most visible parliamentary level. Failing to sufficiently include the perspectives and lived experiences of half of the population means missing out on opportunities to improve all aspects of the society.

The project addresses the significant underrepresentation of women in Estonian parliamentary politics and seeks to improve women’s access to high-level political decision-making. According to theoretical and empirical literature, one of the underused opportunities for increasing women’s participation in politics and representation in media is to nudge the target groups – in this instance political gatekeepers, female politicians and aspiring politicians, and journalists – to act from the grassroot position to initiate change. From this viewpoint, the project’s main goal is to increase knowledge, awareness and deeper understanding of the importance of gender equality in public policy making and how the media as well as political organizations can help to empower women in achieving higher positions as well as visibility and credibility in public domains. In addition to increasing knowledge, our aim is to develop and provide usable solutions, suggestions, best practices and tool kits to improve the situation.

Evidence from the literature review, secondary analysis, focus groups and discussions are employed to come up with ideas for improvements. As a result of the project the awareness on gender equality of the target groups and stakeholders is raised and an informal network of informed political gatekeepers, politicians and knowledgeable journalists who are equipped with the relevant knowledge and tools to improve women’s representation in the decision-making and their media coverage is set up.