Views #955 | Intermediate 5

Gender Roles in Estonia

Kadi talks about gender roles in her country of Estonia.

Todd: So, Kadi, you are from Estonia. Can you talk about gender roles for the new generation compared to the older generation?

Kadi: Yes, in Estonia, we have this kind of Western type of family, a woman doesn't have to be a housewife. She can work. She can do whatever she likes. Even maybe the tendency right now is that women are becoming more masculine. Often it happens that women make more money than men do and they're the ones who bring the bread in the house. Yeah, compared to Eastern society where usually women are considered as housewives. They just have to clean and cook and raise the kids, and in my country ... no ... there's not such a thing and I think it always has been like that. I'm not quite sure but.

Todd: Who does the chores like cooking and cleaning?

Kadi: Yeah, I think we all do it. We don't have that kind of rule that women only have to clean and cook. Of course in some families, it is like that because women are better cleaning, especially, rather than men are, but yeah, men are quite good cooks.

Todd: What do people do for childcare? Like who takes care of the children?

Kadi: Nannies. Yeah. We have nannies for working mothers, they usually like hire people to watch over the children and just they play with them and also like kindergarten, like children start going to kindergarten in Estonia when they're really young, maybe from three months I think even, yeah, you can go to work when your child is like half-a-year old. Just go to work. Take a child there, and people are going to care about her.

Todd: Is the nanny expected to cook and clean as well?

Kadi: It depends of on the contract. It depends on the contract. Yeah, if you hire a person who that you say you're gonna pay him or her, usually her, like for cleaning, cooking, taking care of the children, whatever, it depends on the contract.


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

gender roles

notesCan you talk about gender roles?

Gender roles talk about the actions and responsibilities of men and women in particular cultures. Notice the following.

  1. Gender roles in my country have changed a lot in the past 20 years.
  2. We discussed gender roles in sociology class today.


notesWomen are becoming more masculine.

Here, 'becoming more masculine' means women doing things that were traditionally done by men. Notice the sample sentences.

  1. Traditionally masculine jobs are now being done by women.
  2. Jobs traditionally held by men are sometimes said to be masculine.

bring home the bread

notesIn Estonia, women are often the ones who bring the bread in the house.

Someone who 'brings the bread in the house' is the person who makes money to take care of the family. We usually call this person 'the bread winner'. Notice the samples.

  1. In my family, mom is the breadwinner.
  2. I'll be the sole breadwinner until my wife finishes her master's degree.



We have nannies for working mothers.

A nanny is someone who is employed to take care of children in the children's home. Here are some samples.

  1. She hired a nanny to take care of the children while she was at work.
  2. Nannies are usually not well paid.

half-a-year old

notesYou can go to work when your child is like, half-a-year old.

'Half-a-year old' simply means 6 months old. Notice the sample sentences.

  1. Our son is only a half-a-year old and already he 's walking.
  2. When I was a half-a-year old, my mom went back to work.

depend on


It depends on the contract.

People say 'it depends on' something to show they are not sure. They need more information. Notice the samples.

  1. He'd like to study abroad, but it depends on the cost.
  2. I might go to the party, but it depends on who's going to be there.

Vocabulary Quiz

gender roles • masculine • the bread
 nanny • half-a-year old • depends on
  1. They are looking for a to care for their kids in the summer.
  2. She still her parents to buy her clothes and food.
  3. have changed a lot since my grandparents were young.
  4. He is only a , but he is really big.
  5. She is very in the way she dresses.
  6. It makes her feel good to bring home in her family.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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