Equality and Diversity at the university

The goal of the University of Helsinki Equality Plan is to support the creation of a healthy studying and working environment. The University of Helsinki continues to be committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its operations. The University intends to be a forerunner in the promotion of equality and the creation of an atmosphere of respect for diversity also during the period 2017–2018.

Status of equality at the University of Helsinki

The University has conducted extensive and systematic surveys and reports according to the plan for 2013–2016. Overall, it can be stated that the University’s various institutions consider work for equality and non-discrimination to be very important. The organisational change carried out in 2016, together with the cooperation process and the resulting staff cuts, will probably be reflected in future surveys as more negative outcomes for experiences of equality and fair treatment. But the recovery from the difficult situation has already begun.

Equality plan 2017-2018

Discrimination Act. This Equality Plan 2017–2018 is an updated and revised version of the 2013–2016 plan. The University of Helsinki Equality Plan features both HR policy and operative objectives for promoting various forms of equality at the University of Helsinki as a workplace and an educational institution. The Plan includes objectives and measures for the two-year period 2017–2018.

The plan covers also an assessment of the gender equality situation in the workplace, including details of the employment of women and men in different jobs and a pay survey on the whole personnel presenting the classifications of jobs performed by women and men, the pay for those jobs and the differences in pay.

Special attention is be given to pupil or student selection, the organisation of teaching, learning differences and the evaluation of study performance, and to measures to ensure the prevention and elimination of sexual harassment and gender-based harassment.  

Focus areas and measures 2017–2018

Here you can find the focus areas and measures 2017–2018. Please find the pdf-file of the whole plan below.

Promotion of leadership work

  • Cooperation with administrative bodies and supervisors
  • Equality liaison network
  • Communications plan
  • Equality lecture recordings
  • Pay survey development
  • Review of the cooperation process
  • Anonymous recruitment
  • Age equality
  • Workplace wellbeing survey

The University will create videos and podcasts in which experts lecture on topical equality and non-discrimination issues. Whenever possible, these lectures will be interactive, and they will be added to the University’s UniTube series on equality. A partial goal is also to increase a collegial sense of community. The intention is to turn these lectures into a permanent practice and to use them in new employee orientation and supervisor training.

Promotion of wellbeing

  • Workplace wellbeing survey
  • Anonymous examinations
  • Training session on challenging supervision and teaching situations
  • Big Wheel degree programmes
  • Accessible communications
  • Recognition of gender diversity

The University of Helsinki conducts the biennial workplace wellbeing survey aimed at all Finnish universities. The survey also takes into account the perspective of equality. As a part of the measures to be taken, the University will ensure that the survey continues to include questions or statements focused on this perspective and particularly on inappropriate behaviour.

Promotion of multiculturalism

  • Multicultural awareness
  • LERU’s Gender Working Group
  • Language practices
  • Multi-faith prayer rooms

One of the objectives of the University of Helsinki Strategic Plan 2017–2020 is to be “a creative, international environment for learning and top-level research”. In accordance with the Strategic Plan, uniform language practices (e.g., relating to the language of meetings and communications as well as the spoken language used in everyday activities) will be promoted across units in the 2017–2018 period to ensure that no one feels left out or chooses not to participate because they are not proficient in the language used. However, the University must also ensure that those who are not proficient in either Finnish or the other languages used do not feel left out. Internationalisation-at-home must also be encouraged.

Equality plan 2017-2018

Please find the pdf-file of the whole plan here.

Equality committee

The University’s Equality Committee is a body under the Vice-Rector, featuring the whole spectrum of the University community. The members of the Committee are appointed to include representatives of different genders, all staff groups of the University, students, and members of the University community of different ages as well as groups with particular insight or experience regarding equality issues. The duties of the Equality Committee are to

  • Promote the achievement of the objectives outlined in the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act, monitor the development of equality at the University and report on it;
  • Influence the University community so as to strengthen pro-equality attitudes, opinions and structures at the University; and
  • Prepare an equality plan as specified in the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the Non-Discrimination Act.

During this term, the chair of the Equality Committee is Vice-Rector Tom Böhling and the secretary is Equality Adviser Timo Valtonen. All equality questions may be addressed to tasa-arvovastaava@helsinki.fi.

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