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Gender Equality

Viimati uuendatud: 25.02.2017

Gender Equality Act (GEA) entered into force on May 1st, 2004.

The act aims to:

  • Prohibit gender-based discrimination;
  • Promote equality between women and men;
  • Guarantee legal protection to the discriminated.
  • Responsibilities of employers:
  • Abstain from discrimination;
  • Obligation to give an explanation to a person who suspects discrimination;
  • Commitment to promote gender-based equality.

An obvious gender-based discrimination is the inferior treatment of a person due to

  • their gender
  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • their parenthood
  • the fulfilment of their family-related obligations
  • other gender-based circumstances (e.g. mandatory military service)  

…, when compared to other people in a comparable situation.

Discrimination is most often caused by prejudice and attitudes that prevent to see the specific person – their value, skills, powers, etc.

Discrimination, traditional views on gender roles and prejudice could prevent a person from learning a speciality or having a job that they actually like the most. It can also influence the employer during job interviews, promotions, or some other situation, to favour a certain candidate due to their gender, nationality, age, or some other personal character.

For example, an employer presumes that a female engineer would not cope as well as the male colleagues because the employer believes that women are not suitable for technical specialists as “engineers have always been male”. Employer overlooks the knowledge, skills, commitment, and professional experience of the specific woman.

Another example – the direct superior of a male employee does not allow him on a child care leave or sickness care leave, as the employer thinks that the male employees should prioritize work over home and family responsibilities. People often work after 18 o’clock in this company, fathers cannot pick up their children from kindergarten, etc.

Discrimination is also when the remuneration is decreased when an employee returns from child care leave, or their salary is not raised (even though all other colleagues have received a pay rise in the meantime).

Sexual harassment is forbidden and legally equalized with gender-based discrimination. For example, sexual harassment is when a colleague or subordinate is touched or tried to be touched even though it’s clear that it is unpleasant to the person.

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