Marina Kaljurand

Breaking the gender stereotype in the diplomatic services

 Marina Kaljurand was destined to undertake an ambassadorial role as a career choice. Others might have been more daunted at the necessary tasks as well as the travelling involved, all of which lay ahead. But her determination to pursue and successfully achieve this goal makes her an excellent role model for women everywhere.

Marina was born in Tallinn, Estonia. She studied at the Tallinn 7th Secondary School and graduated from the Law Department of Tartu State University. By 1992, Marina had graduated from the Estonian School of Diplomacy, and received a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University in U.S. in 1995. She further supplemented her studies at the University of Lapland in Finland, at the University of Pittsburgh in the U.S., as well as Durham University and Civil Service College in Great Britain.

Marina has had an impressive and illustrious diplomatic career, and is now a long-serving diplomat of the Republic of Estonia, who has served as the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to several countries, namely Israel, Russia and Kazakhstan. Marina is currently the Estonian Ambassador to the United States. Other points of professional distinction: include serving on government delegations concerning troop withdrawal between Estonian and Russia, and, negotiations on land and maritime boundary agreements between the two countries. In addition, Marina was the chief negotiator on the accession of Estonia to the OECD, and was head of the legal working group, dealing with Estonia's accession to the European Union.

Being a diplomat herself in patriarchal countries, she is a living example for breaking gender stereotypes. She is also an active leader in the domain of women in diplomacy. Additionally, she has helped to turn politicians´ attention to gender specific domains as she contributed to initiating the Estonian Development Plan for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings 2006-2009.

In addition to all the above, Marina has also lectured at the Estonian School of Diplomacy on public international Law, international relations, and, foreign policy and diplomacy, and taught law at the Tallinn Economic Technical School. For services to Estonia, Marina has been decorated by the President of Estonia with the Order of White Star III class, (2004) and, the Order of the National Coat of Arms III class (2008).

Relevant Information:

Gender stereotypes are very much in evidence in Estonia, leaving women far behind their male counterparts when it comes to their weekly wages. When this GPG is intersected with an ethnic dimension, Russian women find themselves at the bottom of the list. Estonia has one of Europe's worst pay gaps between men and women. EU studies say women get paid 17 percent less than men on average. But in Estonia, it's as much as 30 percent, which far exceeds the average differential in Europe which stands at approximately 18 percent. However, this inequality goes much further than wages. The so-called segregation in the economy means women often remain in lower paid jobs like healthcare and education, while men dominate the more lucrative private sector.

UNHCR: The most recent report on the trafficking of women, states that Estonia is a source country for the trafficking of women to Norway, the United Kingdom, and Finland for the purpose of forced prostitution. Estonian men were trafficked within the country for forced labor, specifically forced criminal acts and to Ukraine for forced labor in the construction industry. The Government of Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, Estonia took steps to improve victim assistance by approving a new victim identification model in January 2009 and demonstrated good coordination with regional counterparts on victim identification and repatriation. SOURCE: United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Estonia, 16 June 2009.