Gender issues started to receive attention in Estonia in the late 1990s upon the ratification of international conventions and with preparation for accession to the European Union (EU).
The permanent body for dealing with gender-equality issues was established in December 1996 as the Gender Equality Bureau within the Department of International Cooperation and European Integration. It was reorganised into the Gender Equality Department in December 2003, and since 2005 it has been in charge of developing gender-mainstreaming processes and methodologies.
Laws and Policies
Gender-equality issues are mainly regulated by the Gender Equality Act (GEA) 2004. The act stipulates that state and local government agencies are required to promote gender equality systematically and purposefully; that public authorities are required to address conditions and circumstances that hinder the achievement of gender equality; and that agencies must take into account gender equality when planning, implementing and assessing national, regional and institutional strategies, policies and action plans. The act also established the institution of the Gender Equality Commissioner.
Methods & Tools
Few gender-mainstreaming methods are being deployed. Training and capacity-building has been provided to officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs and other public servants. In addition, a range of support materials exist, such as publications or awareness-raising efforts that have been made over the past few years. Statistics and data are disaggregated by sex.