Gender Equality Questions in Estonia Were under Discussion in UN
On Tuesday, 24 July, Estonia presented in New York to the 39th UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women the Fourth Periodic Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The head of Estonian delegation was ambassador Marina Kaljurand.
In the words of ambassador Kaljurand the dialogue with the Committee was very constructive and the Committee emphasized several positive developments in Estonia. The Gender Equality Act has been adopted, the Gender Equality Commissioner has started working, the authority of the Chancellor of Justice has increased, the national Development Plan for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has been adopted and actions plan on preventing and restraining domestic violence is in development, Kaljurand listed the positive developments acknowledged by the Committee. According to the Committee there has been a positive transformation in the prevailing attitude of Estonians on gender equality issues, but there are still many stereotypes remaining in the society, she added.
Wage differences between men and women, the shortage of female professors, healthcare statistics, women's participation in politics, women's situation in rural areas, stereotypes in education and the growing number of women among people living with HIV/AIDS were also topics under discussion during the session. After the report is presented Estonia will wait for the concluding observations and the recommendations of the Committee.
All these countries acceded to the convention are obligated to present periodical reports on legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures that have been implemented to enforce the provisions of the convention, as well as on the progress made in the field. The reports are presented to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women consisting of 23 independent experts. The committee examines the reports at its annual session. The first summarized report by Estonia was presented in June 2001.
The Republic of Estonia acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 26 September 1991. The objective of the convention is to guarantee the observation of the principle of equal rights and human dignity and equal participation of men and women in the political, public, economic and cultural life of their country. The document forbids discrimination against women and obligates countries that have acceded to it to take measures for the elimination of discrimination against women. Presently, 185 countries have acceded to the convention.
The 39th UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women takes place in New York from 23 July till 10 August. Besides Estonian report also the reports of Hungary, Norway, Liechtenstein, New-Zeeland will be taken under discussion. Soon the usual concluding observations of the Committee will be revealed.