EWL News

10 years for the Estonian Women’s Associations Roundtable!

[Tallinn, 25 January 2014] On Saturday 25 January 2014, the Estonian Women’s Associations Roundtable (EWAR) celebrated its ten years of action for women’s rights and gender equality. Created in 2004, the EWAR is the member organization of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) in Estonia and gathers 130 organisations, including 12 regional roundtables and organisations dedicated to a diversity of areas (women with disabilities, human rights, police women, journalists, etc.). The conference to celebrate the 10th anniversary took place in Tallinn University and gathered more than 150 participants, from all EWAR member organisations, as well as decision-makers and partners from the ministries and the universities. Harda Roosna, President of EWAR, introduced the day, organized by Eha Reitelmann, Executive Director of EWAR and expert at the EWL Observatory on violence against women.

The goal of the conference was also to bring women’s organisations voice to the decision-makers. This is why a panel of politicians was invited to present their ideas and vision on the realization of equality between women and men in Estonia. The following parliamentarians shared their views about gender equality and the situation of women’s rights in Estonia: MEP Kaja Kallas (Reform Party), MP Mailis Reps (Center Party), MP Annely Akkermann (Pro-patria Party), MP Marianne Mikko (S&D), and MEP Kristiina Ojuland. All of them highlighted the persistence of stereotypes towards women, in a society which knows the highest gender pay gap in Europe and continues to develop a gender-segregated labour market and puts the family responsibilities mainly on women only.

Several members of the EWAR presented the various projects led by the organization: empowerment trainings for young women, a summer school every year, an audit of the programmes and of the political groups in 2011 ahead of parliamentarian elections, a project about attitudes and beliefs of teachers showing the persistence of strong sexist and gendered stereotypes in the education system and detrimental to girls and young women. 66,7% of interviewed professionals believe that it is normal to have a gender-segregated labour market, and 57% say that it is important to focus more on boys because they are “more interesting than girls”. Click here to see the awareness raising video clips produced by the Estonian Ministry for Social Affairs to denounce sterotypes.

In this context, the EWAR issued an appeal to the government and the Gender Equality Council at the end of the conference, calling for reinforced institutional mechanisms for gender equality, including the implementation of the Gender Equality Act and the prioritization of gender equality in the policies and the funding schemes. Urgent problems were mentioned during the day, besides the persistence of stereotypes: the lack of support mechanisms for women victims of male violence, the absence of a Committee on gender equality within the Parliament, the lack of accountability of men to support their family, including after a divorce, the risk of poverty faced by women and children (10% of kids live in poverty), the gender pension gap (deriving from the gender pay gap), the difficulty for women to access top positions in business and media, as well as in politics…

EWL Interim Coordinator Pierrette Pape was invited to conclude the day by presenting the work of the European Women’s Lobby (click here to download the presentation) and Riina Kütt, EWL Board member for Estonia, explained how the collaboration with women’s organisations from all over Europe is important to make women’s voice heard at European level. The EWAR conference welcomed the premiere of the screening of EWL new video clip “A she-(re) cession” - What does austerity mean for women in Europe?”! All participants also demonstrated their solidarity for all women in Europe by gathering for a group photo to support women in Spain and the right to abortion in Europe (see the article here).

The EWL congratulates the EWAR for the good conference and the fantastic work they have been doing in Estonia for the last ten years, and wish them ten more fruitful and successful years working for women’s rights and gender equality!

The chairs of the 12 regional roundtables:

regional chairs

The panel of decision-makers:

panel decision makers

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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