Conflict over Estonia's "Mother of the Year"

Every year in Estonia a woman is designated "Mother of the Year". The Estonian Women's Union, which organises the award, has refused to change its requirement that the winner must be married - although 30 percent of all Estonian children are born out of wedlock. Estonian commentators can't understand the decision and are incensed that single mothers in particular are being stigmatised.

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Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR Online) (EE) /

Women as women's worst enemy

Now that the Estonian Women's Union is attacking single mothers in this way society really doesn't need misogynist men any more, columnist Rain Kooli comments angrily on the website of the Estonian national broadcaster:

“As if single mothers didn't already have enough to deal with, now the statements by the Estonian Women's Union has hit them like a slap in the face with a wet kipper. 'You can't possibly imagine we'd select a woman who presents her children with a new father every Christmas as Mother of the Year?' Is that really the image of the single mother? Is every single mother really just a promiscuous rabbit with nothing more on her mind than having as many children with as many men as she can? ... Women are seeking to have other women who don't correspond to the social norm burned at the stake.”

Õhtuleht (EE) /

Let children decide who's the best!

Õhtuleht argues that it's best to ask the children what makes a good mother:

“It would be very surprising if one of them thought their mother was the best because she's married or has several children. More important is her personality. ... That doesn't mean the Estonian Women's Union should change the criteria. Especially because the activists are now considering an alternative nomination. ... Instead the president and the speaker of parliament, who will be presenting the prize, should ask whether such titles correspond to the expectations of society - and are worth such a tribute on behalf of the state.”