Estonia // Methods & Tools

Gender Equality Act

Soolise Võrdõiguslikkuse Seadus

Aims and objectives

The purpose of the Act is to ensure equal treatment of men and women as provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and to promote equality of men and women as a fundamental human right and for the public good in all areas of social life.

Results and impact

In 2011, the Government has adopted “Rules for Good Legislative Drafting and Technical Rules for Drafts of Legislative Acts” which states that, among other impacts, the social impact of the planned draft law also has to be assessed. In 2012, the methodology of the impact assessment was approved according to which the notion of social impact also includes the area of gender equality.


The Act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex in the private and public sectors; obliges state and local government authorities, educational and research institutions and employers to promote equality between men and women; provides the right to claim compensation for damage. Regarding gender mainstreaming, the state and local government authorities are obliged to take into account the gender perspective and consider how the measures applied and to be applied will affect the situation of men and women in society in the process of planning, implementation and assessment of national, regional and institutional strategies, policies and action plans.