The pay differences between men and women in Estonia has increased for an extended period of time and is one of the largest in the European Union context. Despite the fact that gender pay gap is quite easy to define, it is not easy to measure and identify the causes.

According to the previous studies, it can be said that the wage differences are resulted from different jobs and job positions, lower work experience and lower work load. Therefore, additional causes like the interruption of work life due to raising small children and different specialties and education among people play a role in gender pay gap. On the other hand, gender pay gap is seen as a problem of the society with the existence of broader discrimination and the result of collective negotiation. With this societal approach the gender pay gap is a problem that has a solution.

The results of the study

The study shows that gender pay gap differences rose more than a quarter in the first 10 years at the start of the century. The biggest difference among groups is with low levels of education, married people and cohabitation and is more spread in the private sector. Another important aspect that explains the pay gap is the segregation. Although segregation explains a large part of the pay gap, it does not explain the scarcity of woman directors. The size of the salary of women depends mainly on the level of education. The obtained specialty has the biggest role for men in determining the size of the salary.

The link between gender pay gap and occupational segregation

The case studies showed that the dominance of men in leading positions favour the pay gap differences. The present case study analysed six different organizations with different size, spheres and locations. The results showed that with all organization the pay gap was not in favour of women. Although, men and women work at different positions, the work of women might be undervalued. This is indicated by different salaries at the same jobs which has been tried solve in organizations with the help of detailed regulations in wage arrangements. Too detailed system, however, can become confusing and opaque.


The gender pay gap has no clear cause and the problem is interconnected with many different factors. Therefore, there are many methods, starting from increasing awareness of gender equality problems and finishing with guiding trainings. It is important to keep in mind that merely law implementation is not enough, also the attitude of the society needs to be changed.