BPW Estonia Draws Attention to Gender Inequality with Untranslatable Pun

laine uudised-laine
17. Apr 2011

"With or without dill" is nothing more than a culinary choice for the English speaking word, but in Estonian, it can become an effective means for drawing attention to gender inequality in the workplace. The double meaning of the word "dill" in Estonian – it stands for both the herb and a diminutive term for the male genitalia – allowed the non-profit organization BPW Estonia to draw attention to the gender gap in pay by offering various dishes in Estonian restaurants "with or without dill", the dilled version costing 30,9% more, corresponding to the percentage by which the salaries of male workers exceed those of women, on average.

The "With or Without Dill" day was scheduled for April 12th, because that is the day when female workers will have earned the yearly salary of their male counterparts, given the 30,9% wage difference. 

The gender gap in pay in Estonia is by far the largest in the EU, and shows a tendency of growing, not decreasing. Margus Tsahkna, an Pro Patria and Res Publica MP told ERR News that the gap can be bridged by setting good examples in the public sector and raising awareness of the issue amongst women, so that women would gain the courage necessary to demand equal rights from private sector employers. Reet Laja, a researcher of gender studies, recommends collective bargaining as a means of reducing gender inequality in the workplace.