Presentation on theme: "Promoting new masculinities in Estonia 14 October 2011 GET: Gender Issues in Europe Today."— Presentation transcript:
Promoting new masculinities in Estonia 14 October 2011 GET: Gender Issues in Europe Today
Key points Estonian Womens Associations Roundtable, partner in GET project A few facts about Estonia Women, men and distribution of power in Estonia Toward a more balanced society - promoting new masculinities
Estonian Womens Associations Roundtable (EWAR), established in 2003, is an open and democratic womens organizations network based on co-operation. Its aim is to form common positions among women on questions important to society, to advance participatory democracy and equality between women and men.
Estonia Population: 1.3 million Area: sq km HDI: 34th (2010) Parliamentary republic Riigikogu/Parliament 101 seats Independence restored 20 August 1991 Singing Revolution
WEF competitiveness ranking Estonia keeps 33rd position in WEF competitiveness rankings Estonia and the Czech Republic, which ranked 38th, remain the best performers within Eastern Europe. The countries' competitive strengths rely on excellent education highly efficient and well-developed goods, labor, and financial markets strong commitment to advancing technological readiness In addition, Estonia's 33rd rank reflects solid institutions and well-managed public finances.
Capital: Tallinn Old and new hand in hand
Women, men and distribution of power in Estonia Men are the head of the family, women are the neck, they can turn the head wherever they please.
Global Gender Gap Report 2010 Source:
Executive power: Estonian government 13/1
Legislative power: Estonian Parliament 101/20
Academy of Sciences 66/2
Citizens of the Republic of Estonia TV debate
Estonian women better educated than men
Gender pay gap
Its normal Lets be clear: globally, males have all the advantages – at least some men in some countries! On virutally every measure – political representation, the workplace, the professions, share of wealth – males control a disproportionate share of resources in every culture on earth. So normal is this state of affairs, so universal, that everywhere measures of womens relative status are set against the criteria of male standards. Source: Boys and School. A Background Paper on the Boy Crisis. Michael Kimmel. Stockholm Swedish Government Official Reports.
Estonia is a rather typical post-communist country that has not yet gone through a culture shift from materialist to post-materialist values. Subsequently, Estonian culturally exalted form of masculinity is heavily based on working, earning and spending money. Source: Building a sense of worth while undoing hegemonic masculinity. Marion Pajumets,
Value patterns among Estonian population The pronounced difference in the values of men and women distinguishes Estonia from other European countries, especially from Northern Europe. Compared to women, Estonian mens value set is more one-sided and stressful, being more oriented towards success and progress. Estonian women and girls place greater importance on the majority of the remaining values, including orientation towards a secure environment, the harmonious development of personality, and self-expression. It can be expected that the failure of goals related to success and progress, caused by the economic crisis, will have a more devastating impact on mens health and quality of life, since alternative ideals and interests that could provide support exist to a lesser degree in the value sets of men. Source. Reference: Human Development Report, 2009:
Men pay a high price in a society that promotes male domination and traditional standards of masculinity Social problems are manifested in mens short life expectancy (W 80.5, M 70.6 among the widest in the EU, data for 2011) The main problems of men are work overload intensification of working life pressures to earn more money neglected health problems low educational levels changes in marital behavior fathers rights Source: European Research Network on Men in Europe.The Social Problem and Societal Problematisation of Men and Masculinities. / Estonia, Voldemar Kolga, p 16 https://umdrive.memphis.edu/slease/public/ResearchTeam/ResearchReadings/Men%20in%2010EU%20countries.pdf, ps://umdrive.memphis.edu/slease/public/ResearchTeam/ResearchReadings/Men%20in%2010EU%20countries.pdf
How should we change this? To change the situation, we need gender transformative interventions which question, challenge and change rigid gender norms and inequities. In the social sciences, we no longer speak of masculinity in the singular, but of masculinities, in the plural, in recognition of the different definitions of manhood that we construct. By pluralising the term, we acknowledge that masculinity means different things at different times. Source: Boys and School. A Background Paper on the Boy Crisis. Michael Kimmel. Stockholm Swedish Government Official Reports.
Toward a more balanced society - promoting new masculinities
Are we ready to share power? Research into attitudes among young Estonian male politicians university graduates /recent graduates (2001) Main findings: They granted women the right to work, because home and children were inadequate for self-realisation. They would not invite women into politics or leading positions in the business world. They were unanimously opposed to a quota system, which would give a boost to womens participation in politics. They attributed womens modest involvement in politics to womens naturally smaller talents or interest in politics. They thought that quota systems constituted unfair competition. Everybody has equal opportunities and why should women have extra help via quota systems! They thought women are satisfied with the situation, because they themselves have chosen their roles. Source: Research on governance, women and men politicians equality. Marion Pajumets, pp
Are we eager to promote new gender roles? Gender equality monitoring 2009:
Notebook: My friends , skype, MSN, hobbies... Minu sõbrad, Egmont 2011 Front Back
ABC book for boys, 2011 Boys -deal with heavy machinery -are corageous -fear nothing -dare take risks -have no weaknesses -possess superpowers -act alone -dont show affection -appear small outside, but are big as the Sun inside because they think so smart
New masculinities as solution to existing social problems Under ESF programme Promoting Gender Equality , theFathers calendar for 2009 was prepared and distributed. The aim of the calendar was to draw attention to fathers and grandfathers role in taking care of children. Also, a conference Caring Fatherhood was arranged in order to discuss different concepts of fatherhood. It was discussed whether caring fatherhood could play a part in solving such problems as early mortality of men, low birth rate, high number of children in one-parent families, child poverty, the gender pay gap.
Im thrilled and proud of being a father Fathers balancing work and family life Publication by the Estonian Womens Studies and Resource Centre, 2008
Parental leave in Estonia In January 2004, when the Parental Benefit Act (2003) was enacted, was an exciting moment in the evolution of Estonian social policies concerning gender. For the first time, social policies encouraged mothers and fathers to negotiate who would focus on childcare and who on a career. The new policy stands out for its generosity, and has three components. The maternity leave benefit normally starts a month before expected childbirth, lasts 140 days and compensates 100% of the mother's previous wage. In 2007, the period of parental leave benefit was extended from 11months - until the child is 18 months old: - 100% of the parent's previous earnings, - can be used by either parent - from September 2007 fathers can use the benefit as soon as the child has reached 70 days. At the end of the parental leave benefit period either parent can stay on leave and receive a moderate childcare allowance until the child is three years of age. The jobs of parents on leave must be held for them until they return to work. Read more:
The majority of Estonian men entitled to parental leave have not taken advantage of it and preferred to continue working. (Uptake rate in 2009 and %). Accordingly, Estonian men's neglect of one of the most generous parental leave systems in contemporary world could be caused by a combination of specific historic background and more universal power inequalities of men and women. Formal measures must be supported by a shift towards post-materialist values and tolerance of diversity in Estonian society. Until that happens, embracing nurturant fathering as a lifestyle choice means a confrontation with dominant norms.
Why fathers dont opt for staying at home with kids? Although parents thought that excellent care was in the best interests of their offspring, they believed that the social status of caregivers was rather low, and for men, would certainly not contribute to their masculinity. Replacing a work centered lifestyle with a child centered one was considered a significant risk to men's social image. Parental leave was associated with social labeling by men's colleagues and employers. Being cut off from work itself, work related issues and relationships, and knowing no other men in this situation, men might also become socially isolated. Source: Estonian couples' rationalizations for fathers' rejection of parental leave. Research, Marion Pajumets,
The world has changed enormously in the past half-century, but the ideology of masculinity has not kept pace with these changes. To promote new masculinities, we have to start as early as possible, from early childhood, from school.
According to the Gender Equality Act, effective as of 1 May 2004, educational and research institutions and institutions engaged in the organisation of training are required to ensure equal treatment for men and women upon vocational guidance, acquisition of education, professional and vocational development and re-training. The curricula, study material used and research conducted have to facilitate abolishment of the unequal treatment of men and women and promote equality.
New national curricula for basic schools and gymnasia effective as of January 2011 Fundamental values General human values: honesty care respect for life justice integrity dignity towards oneself and others Social values freedom democracy respect for native language and culture patriotism multiculturalism tolerance environmental sustainability legality solidarity responsibility gender equality
Wake up, Observe and Act! Project funded by ESF Main objective: breaking gender stereotypes ( and challenging hegemonic masculinity ) Implemented by the Estonian Womens Associations Roundtable Coupled with a piece of research on teachers attitudes toward gender equality Training for teachers in 9 regions Study tour to Sweden International conference CD with videos and discussion topics
Conclusion What held girls back from succeeding in school were both institutional and structural barriers as well as traditional ideologies of femininity.... What holds boys back from succeeding at school is the persistence of those traditional ideologies of masculinity. Understanding that ideology, it seems to me, is the best entry point for educators and parents who seek to develop remedies for the contemporary boy crisis. It is an entry point that would enable boys to fully embrace an expansive definition of manhood – one that could even encourage them to succeed in school. Michael Kimmel: Boys and School: A Background Paper on Boy Crisis, Stockholm, 2010.
Thank you for listening Estonian Womens Associations Roundtable Riina Kütt
Thank you for listening Estonian Womens Associations Roundtable Riina Kütt
Feminism? The young male politicians thought that feminism is an out-dated import for which there is no demand in Estonia. Estonia is not a western country where the standard of living is high and people can fancy feminism. In Estonia, Here isolated feminists fight with non-existent problems, have a need for attention and appear afflicted. Feminism is perceived as an attack on male roles, or even as an attempt to establish matriarchy. In the interviews, the young men praised Estonias own and enduring concept of femininity that Soviet equality politics could not destroy, nor will western feminism affect it. Gender equality was equated with by-gone Soviet power, Communist ideology and leftist movements.
Promoting new masculinities Research on men and masculinity Gender equality monitorings Projects Wake up, Observe and Act
In 2008 an analysis was conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs about policy measures supporting fatherhood in Estonia and Europe. In 2007 the Centre for Policy Studies PRAXIS made a qualitative study on the request of Ministry of Social Affairs for finding out reasons why fathers do or do not stay home with small children.
Thematic network: the social problem and societal problematisation of men and masculinities Estonian national report on newspaper representations on men and mens practices The qualitative analyses reveals that gender is mostly presented in a traditional way, with inequality represented as deriving from nature of man and women. Estonian printed media does not devote much of attention to men´s and masculinities issues. Men`s work-home, social exclusion, violence and health problem are presented mostly gender neutral way. If gender is explicitly presented, then traditional views are mostly supported Space devoted in cm/2 on men issues and masculinities Two weeks estonian press output to examine explicit and implicit analyses on men and masculinities, and their problematisation.
Research coverage is relatively good on work and health, but not on social exclusion. The explicit gendering of men and focus on masculinities is not directly presented in most studies. Gender issues are not seen as a top priority. While problems like crime, poverty and unemployment are strongly gender-laden, their gendering is generally ignored. Social problems are manifested in mens short life-expectancy; after Russia, Estonia has the largest difference in life expectancy between men and women, as the result of men´s health problems. Interestingly Estonian men subjectively tend to estimate that their health is better than womens and that they have less chronic diseases and health problems, even though this is not the case.
Post-socialist transformation Surprisingly there has been relatively little academic work on mens health from a gendered perspective in many countries. Evidence suggests that generally men neglect their health and that for some men at least their masculinity is characterized by risk-taking, an ignorance of the mens bodies, and reluctance to seek medical intervention for suspected health problems. Risk-taking is especially significant for younger men, in smoking, alcohol and drug taking, unsafe sexual practices, road accidents. In this context it is interesting that Estonian research finds that men are over-optimistic regarding their own health (Kolga 2000). Mens suicide, especially young mens, is high in the Baltic countries, Finland, Poland, Russia, Ireland. In these countries there is also a high difference in life expectancy between men and women
Considering the Estonian Parental leave benefit in the context of the current global economic crisis, fathers' rejection of the state's offer is even less reasonable. Indeed, the parental leave benefit has proven to be a most reliable source of income. Compared to most other EU member states, the global recession has severely drained the Estonian economy (Eurostat, 2009). Many people have lost their jobs. Registered unemployment in 2008 rose to 13.5% (Statistics Estonia, 2009a). Several social welfare programs were either suspended or severely cut down. However, despite the stringent state budget, in autumn 2009, the Estonian Government raised the maximum parental leave benefit by 15%. Retaining parental leave benefit's high compensation levels has clearly gained the status of the "holy cow" in Estonian politics.
Promoting new masculinities What will happen to the gender roles? Visions of male politicians of the future.
Situation with gender equality The Gender Equality Act entered into force 1st of May 2004 The Gender Equality Act stipulates that state and local government agencies are required to promote gender equality systematically and purposefully. According to the § 9 of the Act public authorities are required to change the conditions and circumstances which hinder the achievement of gender equality. Upon planning, implementing and assessing national, regional and institutional strategies, policies and action plans, the agencies have to take into account different needs and social status of men and women and consider how the measures applied and to be applied will affect the situation of men and women in society.
Women very easily take the blame for the phenomena whose root causes are found in prevailing patriacrhial culture and the norm of hegemonic masculinity
The truth about girls and boys The hysteria about boys is partly a matter of perspective. While most of society has finally embraced the idea of equality for women, the idea that women might actually surpass men in some areas (even as they remain behind in others) seems hard for many people to swallow. Thus, boys are routinely characterized as falling behind even as they improve in absolute terms.
In addition to the Gender Equality Act, the ministerial regulations for project applications from European Social Fund (ESF) provide that the inclusion of gender impact is a mandatory criterion in project application for all measures.
In some countries, such as Estonia, this is argued to be the main social problem of men (Kolga 2000). Men constitute the majority of drug abusers and far greater consumers of alcohol than women, though the gap may be decreasing among young people. Men often neglect their health and for some men at least their masculinity is characterised by risk-taking, ignorance of mens bodies, and reluctance to seek medical intervention for suspected health problems. Risk-taking is especially significant for younger men, in smoking, alcohol and drug taking, unsafe sexual practices, accidents. In this context it is interesting that Estonian research finds that men are over-optimistic regarding their health (Kolga 2000). Mens suicide, especially young mens, is high in the Baltic countries
this persistence of traditional roles against the background of new opportunities for men. Read more: Estonia, which offer but do not impose fathers' leave taking. Despite this increased choice, however, less than seven percent of the users of the generous parental leave benefit, in April 2010, are men (Social Insurance Board, 2010). Read more: he maternity leave benefit normally starts a month before expected childbirth, lasts 140 days and compensates 100% of the mother's previous wage. Right before or after the child is born the state grants fathers 14 "daddy days" compensated at low flat level. The parental leave benefit covers 100% of the parent's previous earnings, calculated on taxes he or she has paid, up to a ceiling of three times average salary in Estonia, and can be used by either parent. Read more:
From January 2007 the period during which the couple can decide which of them is to use the parental leave benefit was extended four months and from September 2007 fathers can use the benefit as soon as the child has reached 70 days. In Estonia there is no "father's quota"- a part of leave allocated to fathers that cannot be delegated to mothers without losing a proportionate part of parental benefit. Despite this increased choice, however, less than 7% of the users of the generous parental leave benefit, in April 2010, are men (Social Insurance Board, 2010). Source: Publication: Fathering. Author: Pajumets, Marion. Published: April 1,
In the Estonian case, the gendered division of work might partly be explained as expressions of resistance to Estonia's not too distant socialist past. Under the Soviet regime all men and women were expected to work outside the home, while every child had a second home at a local nursery. Children- and home-centered lifestyle choices have only recently opened up for Estonian women and could be therefore attractive (Vörmann & Anderson, 1996). Similarly, Estonian men's work-centeredness might be seen as a reaction to the barriers to engaging in business and earning dating back to Soviet times. Active participation in consumer culture, with its demand for longer working hours, is also attractive for Estonian men after experiencing constant economic deprivation under Communism. Accordingly, Estonian men's neglect of one of the most generous parental leave systems in contemporary world could be caused by a combination of specific historic background and more universal power inequalities of men and women. The former may enforce the latter making the gender regimes of post-Soviet countries especially hard to modernize. Source:
The low expectations of teachers regarding the capacity and achievement of girls can result in tendencies to give more resources and feedback to boys. The fact that girls do well may be automatically presumed by teachers to be linked to that fact that they work hard rather than to their intellectual capacities. Studies have shown that teachers generally give more attention to boys, often also because boys are seen (and accepted) as more demanding and having a tendency to misbehave if bored. The related stereotype that girls are good and well-behaved has led to a disturbing practice by some teachers to use good girls as buffers among boys who are difficult to control. This exposes girls to considerable harassment and reduces further their capacity to participate fully in the classroom and is, thus, a significantly disempowering practice. Gender stereotypes also exist in relation to sports and extra-curricula activities.
The education system can reinforce common existing stereotypes in society – for example, those reproduced by the media, which show women active in a limited very range of areas (often social and cultural fields) and even question womens propensity for leadership, and which, in contrast, always present men in positions of power and influence (usually in relation to politics, the economy, science and technology and sport). These stereotypes are perpetuated and exacerbated through obsolete and gender-insensitive educational curricula and textbooks and other teaching materials, as well as through insensitive teacher attitudes and teaching methods.
I think there are so many amazing women in Estonia, that can manage so much: work full time, take care of the kid(s), look good and also educate themselves.
The Ministry of Social Affairs ordered the study Men – the Subjects of Social Studies in 2005 in order to lay a foundation for studies on men and masculinities in Estonia. The study was carried out by sociologists from Tartu University and gave an overview about the development of masculinity studies in the framework of gender studies, the methodological aspects of mens studies, but also specific topics concerning men, like starting a sex life and sexual education in Estonia, men and fatherhood, and the social, mental and physical health of men. In addition, new research questions were suggested for further studies in Estonia. The report was published in hard copies and electronically on the webpage of the Ministry of Social Affairs.
In 2007 the Centre for Policy Studies PRAXIS made a qualitative study on the request of Ministry of Social Affairs for finding out reasons why fathers do or do not stay home with small children. In addition, attitudes of employers were researched concerning their male employees taking parental leave. More details about the study can be found in Part Two.
In 2008 an analysis was conducted by the Ministry of Social Affairs about policy measures supporting fatherhood in Estonia and Europe. It was analysied how those measures have reached their objectives. In addition, recommendations were given for the next steps to be taken and for analysing their impact. The analysis has been published in a paper form and also online.
According to the Gender Equality Act educational and research institutions and institutions engaged in the organisation of training are required to ensure equal treatment for men and women upon vocational guidance, acquisition of education, professional and vocational development and re-training. The curricula, study material used and research conducted have to facilitate abolishment of the unequal treatment of men and women and promote equality. From 2007 the regulation of the Minister of Education and Research on the conditions and procedure for the approval of conformity of textbooks, workbooks, study books and other educational literature to the national curriculum and the requirements for textbooks, workbooks, study books and other educational literature requires that texts and illustrations in textbooks and other educational literature avoid stereotypes that encourage gender based prejudices. Similar regulation concerns also textbooks and other educational literature in vocational training.
Protection of LGBT people in Estonia
The Gender Equality Act (GEA) entered into force on 1st of May The purpose of this act is to ensure gender equality and to promote equal treatment for men and women as a fundamental human right and a public good in all areas of social life. The act provides for the prohibition of discrimination based on sex in private and public sectors and also the right to claim compensation for damage. The Act can be qualified as a promoting factor for gender mainstreaming since it commits all administrative levels to apply the gender mainstreaming strategy. It also obliges educational and research institutions and employers to promote gender equality. The act defines concepts of direct and indirect discrimination, gender equality, equal treatment and sexual harassment and establishes the rule of shared burden of proof. A special emphasis has been put on discrimination in working-life.
The act also allows certain positive measures. GEA created basis for setting up institutions of an independent gender equality expert - the Gender Equality Commissioner and an advisory body for the government the Gender Equality Council. Also duties of Ministry of Social Affairs upon implementation of the Gender Equality Act are stated. The first Gender Equality Commissioner started her work in October From 1st of January 2009, after entering into force of the Equal Treatment Act, the Gender Equality Commissioner became the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner. The Gender Equality Council has not been formed yet.
Political commitment Well-designed policies Human and financial resources Research-based arguments Cooperation between public, private and third sector players
In 2008 the topic of the project competition financed by the state and Open Estonia Foundation (see Part One) was From Kindergarten to University – Gender Sensitivity in Education. 7 projects received funding, covering different actions on gender in education. Among other activities were: publishing a collection of articles Problematic boys or wrong temperament?, study-trip to Sweden, translating from Swedish material about gender sensitive pedagogy, holding seminars and roundtables, creating a network of teachers, conducting a research on Contemporary kindergarten – increasing gender sensitivity in Estonian kindergartens, compiling a methodological guideline for kindergarten teachers, publishing guidelines for implementing the Gender Equality Act in kindergartens and schools, holding a conference How to raise 21st century boys and girls?, creating a training material and training teachers based on that etc.
The so-called boy crisis also feeds on a lack of solid information. Although there are a host of statistics about how boys and girls perform in school, we actually know very little about why these differences exist or how important they are. There are many thingsincluding biological, developmental, cultural, and educational factorsthat affect how boys and girls do in school. But untangling these different influences is incredibly difficult. Research on the causes of gender differences is hobbled by the twin demons of educational research: lack of data and the difficulty of drawing causal connections among multiple, complex influences. Nor do we know what these differences mean for boys and girls future economic and other opportunities. Yet this hasnt stopped a plethora of so-
Thus any initiative to improve the condition of women must include efforts to involve men. In fact, I believe that any effort to further gender equality that does not include men is doomed to failure. Of course, most initiatives towards gender equality must, and will continue to focus on womens empowerment. But achieving the vision of gender equality is not possible without changes in mens lives as well as in womens. Michael Kimmel. Global Masculinities: Restoration and Resistance, Gender Policy Review