Estonia's new minister: women can give birth anywhere

Estonia's new Minister of Public Administration, Janek Mäggi is under fire for comments regarding women's concerns about healthcare and domestic violence.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Estonia's new minister: women can give birth anywhere - NewsMavens
Pregnant woman in a field. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

"In Estonia women can also give birth on the field," Mäggi said on the most influential evening news program, Aktuaalne Kaamera, after it was announced that he would be appointed the new minister. 

He was answering a question about the closing of local maternity hospitals. The journalist asked what he thought about it. Mäggi said he didn't see a problem, because women can give birth anywhere.

The Prime Minister obviously didn't see such a strong wave of criticism coming, but it became so loud that President Kersti Kaljulaid invited him for a chat before swearing Mäggi into his new position. In an Eesti Ekspress article, Mäggi says that the president raised concerns over his chauvinistic standpoints on single women and domestic violence.

Instead of feeling embarrassed about his statements, Mäggi said he was surprised about how emotional and anxious the president actually was and explained that his remarks were only intended to be ironic and humorous -- an excuse many use when criticized by feminists. 

Details from the story:

  • Janek Mäggi has spoken against female quotas calling it "an artificial equality".
  • He also criticized Estonia's female President Kaljulaid for speaking about domestic violence in her independence speech last year. He thought it was inappropriate. All of these and many more opinions and statements have made Mäggi unpopular amongst women in Estonia.
  • Mäggi is a communication specialist and founded communications bureau Powerhouse. Part of his job has previously been to influence political decisions.
  • He has also been criticized for a conflict of interest after he moved to politics and joined the running Central Party.
  • Mäggi will be a minister for only ten months before the next parliamentary elections but has said that he plans to take part in the election.
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