The Economic Case for More Gender Equality in Estonia

image of The Economic Case for More Gender Equality in Estonia

Gender equality is not just about fairness and equity; it is also about economic empowerment and economic growth. Estonia has made great strides towards gender equality. Girls today outperform boys in educational attainment, but they are less likely than boys to study mathematics or information and communication technology. The gender employment gap is small, but Estonian women are still less likely to make it to the top, and career breaks around childbirth contribute to the declining but still considerable gender wage gap.

This review considers the gender gaps in labour market outcomes and explores the gap in pay between men and women with equivalent skills within and across firms. It considers family support policies for households with young children, women’s bargaining position in firms, initiatives to combat gender-based discrimination as well as changing gender norms in education. It then explores the potential economic gains of greater gender equality under different scenarios. Indeed, a greater sharing of paid and unpaid work between men and women will lead to economic gains, but it requires changing norms, mindsets, and attitudes. Such changes take time, but policy has a role to play in raising public awareness of gender biases in society and promoting change.


The role of firms in the gender pay gap in Estonia

This chapter analyses the drivers of the gender pay gap, with a particular focus on the role of firms. Section 3.1 shows how the gender pay gap and its main determinants in Estonia compare with those in other European countries. Using comprehensive administrative data, Section 3.2 analyses to what extent the gender pay gap among similarly skilled female and male employees who perform similar tasks and hold similar responsibilities reflects differences in pay practices between firms (the fact that women are employed in lower-productivity and hence lower-paying firms or industries) and differences in pay practices within firms (the fact that female employees are paid less than their male colleagues). On basis of the literature and new evidence, Section 3.3 discusses how the gender pay gap evolves over the life course and looks at the role of career breaks in explaining wage developments following childbirth for mothers rather than for fathers.


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