Estonia’s gender pay gap is narrowing

Until now, Estonia has had the biggest gender pay gap in the entire European Union – but the good news is that it is finally narrowing.

According to Statistics Estonia, Estonia’s official statistics agency, in 2019, the gross hourly earnings of female employees were still 17.1% lower than the gross hourly earnings of male employees, but the gender pay gap decreased by 1.1 percentage points year on year.

The gross hourly earnings of female employees were €7.10 and the gross hourly earnings of male employees €8.56. The gap was biggest in wholesale and retail trade (28.7%), financial and insurance activities (27.1%) and in mining and quarrying (26.5%). Transportation and storage were the only economic activity where women earned more than men.

According to Statistics Estonia, the gender pay gap has decreased by 7.7 percentage points since 2013.

“Although the gap is narrowing very slowly, the difference in the wages of men and women has never been smaller in Estonia. In 2019, compared with 2018, the wage gap decreased the most in professional, scientific and technical activities and increased the most in other service activities, such as the activities of membership organisations, repair of household goods and beauty treatment,” Karina Valma, an analyst at Statistics Estonia, said.

As of 2019, the smallest gender pay gap in the EU is in Romania (3.5%), Luxembourg and Italy (both 5.0%).

Cover: A female worker in Estonia. Photo by Marek Metslaid.

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