CSW68 national statement

68th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

General Discussion

Statement delivered by H.E. Ms. Signe Riisalo, Minister of Social Protection

March 2024, New York


Excellences, distinguished guests and civil society,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union. Please allow me to add a few elements in my national capacity.

Madam/Mister Chair,

Higher gender equality is often linked, among other things, with economic prosperity, reduced violence and improved healthcare in societies. While it’s clear that gender equality benefits every single person, it also relies on a whole-of-society approach to succeed. Estonia is specifically targeting structural gender inequalities in employment, which directly affects women’s economic well-being, with the following steps.

First, we need to address root causes of gender inequalities at employment. Gender pay gap reflects a pattern of gender segregation in education. Estonia’s action plan to tackle segregation includes extensive research into the reasons why men are underrepresented in the Education, Health, and Wellbeing sector. We also conduct training of career specialists on how to steer clear of gender stereotypes when consulting job seekers.

Second, we underscore a need to set benchmarks. A key aspect in diminishing poverty is ensuring the equal treatment of men and women in employment. To achieve this priority, Estonia has a plan to drastically reduce the gender pay gap by 2035.

Third, we need to raise awareness and help society to spot the often-deep-rooted inequalities. Continuous support to employers in creating fair and transparent pay systems is important. With this in mind, Estonia is developing a digital tool based on registry data for automated monitoring of the gender pay gap within an organization.

In the governmental sector, we are developing a model for equality mainstreaming, which helps to take gender and other equality aspects into account in policies and decision-making processes. The model also includes training public officials with special online courses on gender equality and equal treatment.

In addition to our efforts domestically, Estonia is devoted to supporting the achievement of gender equality globally. The importance of regional and international partnerships in this pursuit is also underlined in Estonia’s third National Action Plan for implementing the UN Security Council resolution on “Women, Peace and Security”. This includes our pursuits to become a member of the CSW for the term starting in 2030, as well as our candidature to the Human Rights Council and for a term to the UN Women Executive Board. Meanwhile, Estonian civil society has and will continue to carry out projects that specifically focus on increasing financial independence of women who have fallen victims of war or armed conflict, as an example in Ukraine and Syria.

In conclusion, Estonia is committed to work towards women’s and youth’s full, equal and meaningful participation, in all their diversity. We count on your full support in achieving our common goals.

Thank you!