About gender equality in Estonia

Estonian society remains far from achieving the standard of gender equality in almost all spheres of life, which is confirmed by statistical indicators as well as analyses and studies. Gender inequality prevailing in the labour market is one of the most striking examples. Although the employment rate of women in Estonia is relatively high, the situation in the labour market is still unequal. Estonia has the highest gender pay gap and one of the most highly gender-segregated labour markets in the EU. This situation is all the more noteworthy when considering that Estonian women are significantly more highly educated than men. Thus, the potential of women is not sufficiently utilised in the labour market, women’s self-realisation is limited and, therefore, society benefits from just a part of the income and development provided by the education offered by the state.

Importance of the education system

Education in general and specifically school as an institution play an important role in promoting gender equality. Studies have confirmed that boys and girls are treated differently in schools and that their opportunities to learn and acquire education are therefore also different. The difference in treatment leads to differences in academic performance, perception of the school environment, and specialty choices. If the goal is to change the stereotypes, norms, attitudes and values that affect men, women and gender equality, educating (future) teachers and school principals on this topic so that they in turn will ‘spread the virus’ among children and young people is probably one of the best strategies.

The project

The aim of the project was to support the integration of gender equality in the education system of Estonia, thereby contributing to a reduction in gender inequality in Estonian society. For two years, the project team worked to break the cycle in which gender stereotypes spread, through training of people, improving their knowledge and skills, and changing their attitudes.

To this end, two subject courses on gender equality for universities and one in-service training course for teachers of Estonian general education schools were developed and tested.

To ensure that the courses meet the needs of Estonian society, teachers and students, a survey was carried out among students in order to identify their experiences, knowledge and attitudes regarding gender equality, and interviews were conducted with students and teachers of education and social sciences, as well as experts in the field of gender equality and education.

In addition, the necessary basic knowledge was obtained from an analysis of the experience of the Nordic countries (Finland, Norway and Sweden) and academic literature.


The project summary provides more information about the project!