Women in Estonia

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Women in Estonia
Ellen Niit Kiskőrös.JPG
The 1954 bust of Ellen Niit, a female Estonian literary writer born in 1928. The bust was sculpted by Erna Viitol (1920–2001).
Gender Inequality Index[2]
Value 0.154 (2013)
Rank 29th out of 152
Maternal mortality (per 100,000) 2 (2010)
Women in parliament 20.8% (2013)
Females over 25 with secondary education 100% (2012)
Women in labour force 68.4% (employment rate OECD definition, 2015)[1]
Global Gender Gap Index[3]
Value 0.6997(2013)
Rank 59th out of 144
Two modern-day Estonian women at work while wearing traditional costume.

Women in Estonia are women who were born in, who live in, or are from Estonia in Europe.


Between 1970 and 1990, the total fertility rate (TFR - the average number of children a woman bears[4]) of Estonian women was little over 2 children born per woman.[5] A fast decrease of the TFR occurred after independence. In 1998 the lowest rate was recorded: 1.28 children born per women. In 2001, the United Nations reported through its annual world-population report that "Estonia was one of the fastest-shrinking nations on earth, at risk of losing nearly half its 1.4 million people by mid-century". To prevent this drop in TFR, one of the steps the Estonian government took since 2004 was to start "paying" women by providing them with subsidies "to have babies" known as "mother's salary"). After giving birth and during maternity leave, working Estonian women received full monthly income for up to 15 months (equivalent to US$1,560.00); non-working women who gave birth received a monthly subsidy equivalent to US$200.00.[4] The TFR slightly recovered in the subsequent years, but fluctuated by year, and continued to remain below the replacement rate (being 1.54 children/woman in 2014).[6] As in many other European countries, the link between marriage and fertility has been weakened during the past decades: most children today are born outside of marriage (59% of children were born to unmarried women in 2014).[7] The average age of mothers at first birth in 2014 was 26.6 years.[8]


In the past, according to Estonian mythology, the ancient women of Estonia believed in the female deity and protector of pregnant women in labor known as Rõugutaja.


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