Equality programme

Reykjavik University 2021 – 2024

1. Introduction

Reykjavik University (RU) is a broadminded community that is open to divergent individuals and embraces diversity. Reykjavik University is a place of equality and mutual respect among employees and students who shall be treated fairly and enjoy equal opportunities. At Reykjavik University, individuals of all genders shall have equal access to education, advancement, research and funding. At RU, an emphasis is placed on creating a work environment where communication and methods of work are characterised by respect, integrity, fairness, and equality.

According to the provisions of the Act on Equal Status and Gender Equality, RU must establish a gender equality plan stating how the objectives of the Act will be achieved in order to ensure employees the rights provided for in law. RU's equality plan is based on the Act on Equal Status and Gender Equality, no. 150/2020.

The strategy of RU states the following on the human resources of the University:

Reykjavik University's success depends on the talent and diversity of its people. RU offers its faculty and staff a working environment that is supportive, encouraging and challenging, giving them professional feedback and the opportunity to be creative and to have impact. The University offers fair and competitive salaries, flexibility and the opportunity for balancing work with private life, family obligations and a healthy lifestyle. RU emphasises equal opportunity. Reykjavik University's staff and faculty are professional and responsible in all aspects of their work, with a positive attitude and complete commitment.

The Human Resource Strategy of the University states for example that "We emphasise:

  • creating an international workplace that celebrates diversity and is characterised by respect for individuals and their different activities,
  • creating equal opportunities for progression and salaries, and that people are not discriminated against on the basis of sex, age, religion, ethnicity, race, disability, sexual orientation, political opinion or other subjective factors in accordance with RU's code of ethics and equal opportunity plan,
  • not tolerating bullying or sexual harassment."

2. Objective

The objective of this Equality Programme is to ensure equal conditions and opportunities for employees and students at Reykjavik University irrespective of gender, age, religion, nationality, race, disability, sexual orientation, or political views, and to prevent discrimination or harassment on the basis of these or other irrelevant factors. The programme is meant to ensure that all employees and students are respected and valued on their own merits, and that talent and human resources are used as effectively as possible. The programme is also aimed at counteracting any stereotypes concerning gender. Furthermore, the programme is meant to promote gender balance in comparable positions, committees and councils, as well as to contribute to as much gender diversity as possible among students in individual study programmes.

The aim is to ensure that the mindset of people within RU is free of prejudice and illegal discrimination towards faculty, staff and students, whether conscious or unconscious, in addition to making sure that bullying, violence, gender-based harassment and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within the University.

3. Responsibility

The responsibility for equality at Reykjavik University ultimately lies with the Rector, but all administrators and directors of study programmes are responsible for equal rights and for the implementation and follow-up of the Equality Programme.

The RU Equality Committee forms and submits proposals for the Equality Programme of the University, monitors its progress in collaboration with other responsible parties, in addition to regularly reviewing the programme. On the basis of the programme, the Equality Committee can prepare action plans concerning specific matters in collaboration with other responsible parties and propose that procedural rules be established for occasional issues as appropriate.

The Director of Human Resources is responsible for coordinating and integrating the programme, as well as publishing periodic status and progress reports.

4. Status analysis

An Equality Report shall be prepared annually and published in March each year for the previous calendar year. The content of the report is covered in the Appendix.

5. Equality Committee

The committee consists of 7-10 members, two from the university's support departments, at least two representatives of academic staff from each field and one student representative, appointed by the RU Student Association. RU's Equality Committee is appointed by the Rector for two years at a time, but it is possible to extend the term of office of committee members by two years at a time, although not in such a way that someone sits for more than six consecutive years. In order to maintain the committee's knowledge, at least half of it shall remain in office at the end of each term.

The role of the Equality Committee includes:

  • Following up on the RU Equality Programme in collaboration with the Director of Human Resources.
  • Supervising the review of the RU Equality Programme.
  • Advising senior management and the Rector of the University on equal rights issues and taking the initiative in discussing important equal rights issues.

The committee does not discuss the issues of individual employees, but staff and units can turn to the committee for advice and it will direct matters in the appropriate direction. As a rule, the committee meets once a month.

6. Review

The Equality Programme is prepared for three years at a time. A year before the Equality Programme becomes void, a review of the programme shall begin with the aim of having a new programme ready when the prior programme becomes void. The next review shall thus begin in 2023.

7. Wages and terms of employment

In determining wages, care shall be taken to ensure that there is no discrimination based on gender, and decisions on wages shall be made in the same way for all employees irrespective of gender. All shall enjoy equal terms of employment for equally valuable and comparable work. Terms include wages as well as pension, holiday and sickness rights and any other terms of employment or rights that will be valued monetarily.

Objective

That it is not possible to detect a gender-based difference in wages or terms of employment between faculty and staff in comparable positions.

Indicators

Wage interviews are offered annually and in connection with the interviews, an analysis of wages and other terms of employment shall be performed with the aim of detecting whether gender-based differences exist. Results shall be presented to the Executive committee which is responsible for taking action.

RU receives an Equal Pay Inspection every year and shall receive an Equal Pay Certification every third year. This means that every three years, an independent party shall perform an assessment of wages and terms of employment at Reykjavík University with the aim of detecting discrepancies or discrimination in terms of employees´ wages and employment terms. Results shall be presented to faculty and staff.

Actions

If the above-mentioned analyses reveal differences that can only be explained by gender or other irrelevant factors, the differences shall be corrected as quickly as possible.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
People of all genders will enjoy the same terms of employment for comparable and equally valuable work.

Executive Director, School Dean or Department Chair as appropriate. Director of Human Resources.

Independent appraisal of employees' wages and terms of employment. At least once every three years. Due next in 2023 included in November´s salary. If differences are revealed, then wages shall be corrected as appropriate.
Equal Pay Certification. Rector. Certification and appraisal. To be completed in February every year. Certification shall be maintained according to the provisions of the law.

8. Employees and recruitment

Reykjavik University treats all job applications professionally irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, skin colour, age, childbearing, nationality, social origin, disability, language, religion, political opinions or other views on life, property, origin, financial situation, heritage, family circumstances or impaired working capacity of individuals.

The Human Resource Strategy of RU states, for example: “We emphasise recruiting staff with excellent skills, education and experience and ambition on behalf of RU” and “We emphasise recruiting a diverse group of employees.”

Objectives

That positions are open to everyone irrespective of gender and that the employee group as a whole is diverse in terms of gender, nationality, age, etc.

Equality perspectives shall always be kept in mind when hiring employees and, in addition, the aim is to ensure as much gender balance as possible in comparable positions within the workforce of the University.

When allocating projects, care shall always be taken that individuals are not discriminated against based on gender and that all genders enjoy the same opportunities to assume responsibility.

Indicators

Each year, statistics on gender composition, nationality and age distribution of employees shall be compiled and published. Results shall be published for the University as a whole, for each department/unit, by academic positions, by administrative positions and for committees and councils. The content of the report is covered in more detail in the Appendix.

Actions

Advertisements for vacant positions shall be designed to appeal to individuals of all genders and to a wide age group.

If there is a significant imbalance between genders and more than one equally qualified individuals are suitable for the position in question, efforts shall be made to hire a person of the gender that is in minority.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
Composition of staff is diverse in terms of gender, nationality, age etc. RU administrators, Director of Human Resources. Report issued on statistics. March each year.  If one group is underrepresented, an effort shall be made to take this into consideration in recruitment and appointments.

9. Advancement and promotions

Opportunities for advancement and promotions shall be open to employees of all genders and employees shall be on an equal footing irrespective of nationality, age, etc.

The Human Resource Strategy of RU states the following: “We emphasise basing promotions and other career advancement on skills and performance” and furthermore “We emphasise that progress in academic positions is based on a professional assessment...”.

When appointing selection committees, care shall be taken to ensure that individuals representing at least two genders have a seat on the respective committee.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
All selection committees will be gender mixed. No more than 67% of members are of the same sex. School Deans and Department Chairs. Annual summary of the composition of assessment committees in the Equality Report. Annually. The Director of Human Resources will seek explanations if committees are not diverse in terms of gender.
When recruiting for administrative positions, care shall be taken to ensure that applicants are on an equal footing irrespective of gender. Rector, Executive Director, School Dean or Department Chair as appropriate. Director of Human Resources. Annual summary of appointments for administrative positions will be published in the Equality Report. March each year. The Director of Human Resources will be able to request explanation if only persons of one gender have been considered.

10. Committees, councils and boards

Special care shall be taken to ensure gender balance when appointing committees, councils and boards under the auspices of RU. When nominations for committees are requested, the requests shall be for nominating representatives of at least two genders, where possible.

Appointments for committees and other group work shall be based on the knowledge and interests of employees and a framework shall be in place that enables employees to declare interest in serving on specific committees.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
All committees, councils and boards that run across the university's departments will be gender mixed. No more than 67% of members are of the same sex. Department Chairs, Executive Directors, School Deans, Rector and others responsible for the appointment of committees, councils and boards. Annual summary of the composition of committees, councils and boards in the Equality Report. March each year. The Director of Human Resources will request explanations if committees are not diverse in terms of gender.
Efforts shall be made to have similar gender ratios in committees and councils within departments. Department Chairs and others responsible for appointment. Annual summary of the composition of committees and councils in the Equality Report.

March each year.

The Director of Human Resources will request explanations if committees are not diverse in terms of gender.
The gender ratio on the University Council and Board of the University shall be at most 60% of each gender. Supporters of the University. Membership of the University council and board will be published on the RU website and a press release will be issued when changes are made. Every other year following the appointment of the University board. The Equal Rights Committee will formally request explanations if there is not a balanced representation of genders.

11. Professional training, retraining and continuing education

RU employees shall enjoy equal opportunities as regards access to professional training, retraining and continuing education.

The Human Resource Strategy of RU states the following: “We emphasise providing easy access to training, guidance or training programs that enhance skills and productivity at work.”

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
Ensure that all employees, irrespective of gender, nationality, age and professional duties, enjoy the same possibilities for retraining and vocational training. Immediate supervisor. Administrators shall encourage all employees to pursue appropriate vocational training, retraining and continuing education. In the annual employee interview, it shall be discussed whether employees have attended vocational training, retraining or continuing education and whether they have plans to do so. Annually at employee interviews. The Director of Human Resources will ensure that employee interviews take place and that professional training and development are discussed in the interviews. Workplace analysis.

12. Reconciliation of family and work life

The Human Resource Strategy of RU states, for example, the following: “We emphasise that employees feel they can balance work and family responsibilities” and “We emphasise offering flexible working hours.” Importance is also placed on facilitating the return of employees to work following maternity/paternity or parental leave or leave from work due to pressing and unavoidable family circumstances.

RU also strives to promote equal opportunities for students to pursue their studies irrespective of family circumstances.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
That all employees can balance their professional obligations and family responsibilities. Rector, Director of Human Resources, School Deans, immediate supervisor. Organisation of school calendar and workload will take into consideration the needs of people with families. Survey on the opinions of employees towards the workplace. Analyzes of the workplace every other year, due next in 2022. HR Monitor each month. Survey results presented.
To facilitate employees´ return to work after maternity/paternity or parental leave or leave from work due to pressing and unavoidable family circumstances. Rector, Director of Human Resources, School Deans, immediate supervisor. Consultation between immediate supervisor and employees on how leave of absence is to be arranged and how to return to work. Efforts are made to meet the needs of employees according to circumstances. Individual.  Conversations between administrators and employees.
That all students can balance their academic obligations and family responsibilities. Department Chairs, Programme Directors and teachers. Organisation of school calendar and workload will take into consideration the needs of people with families. When preparing the organisation of school calendar each spring.

The rights of students will be clearly presented in University regulations and handbooks.

13. Gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual harassment

An important factor in being a good workplace is to prevent bullying, gender-based and sexual harassment and violence. In connection with this, faculty, staff, and students must be informed on what is considered bullying, gender-based and sexual harassment and violence.

The RU Code of Ethics states the following: “We will not tolerate any form of injustice, be it bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination on the grounds of irrelevant factors such as gender, age, faith, nationality, race, disability or sexual orientation.” RU has a response strategy in place concerning bullying, harassment and violence in the workplace.

Definitions:

Gender-based harassment: Conduct which is connected with the gender of the person affected by it and is intended to impair the self-respect of the person in question and create a situation that is threatening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or insulting for the person in question, or which has this effect.

Sexual harassment: Any type of sexual behaviour which is intended to impair the self-respect of the person concerned, or which has this effect, particularly when the behaviour results in a threatening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or insulting situation. The behaviour may be verbal, non-verbal and/or physical.

Violence: Any type of behaviour which results in, or could result in, physical or psychological injury or suffering on the part of the victim, including the threat of such, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of freedom.

Bullying: Repeated behaviours that are generally likely to cause distress to the victim, such as belittling, insulting, hurting or threatening the person or causing them fear. Disagreements or differences of interest do not fall under this category.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
That clear procedural rules are in place if cases relating to the above-mentioned matters arise and that these procedural rules are published on the RU website. Director of Human Resources. Procedural rules for employees and students are periodically reviewed. Every other year. next during spring of 2023. The Director of Human Resources monitors the number of cases reported among employees. Workplace analysis.
To prevent gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual violence. Rector, Director of Human Resources, School Deans and Department Chairs hold primary responsibility but all employees and all students hold responsibility. Employees will be provided with appropriate training.

Courses held for administrators and staff.

Contingency plan published on Orion and presented during a staff meeting.

 Students will be provided with appropriate training.

Contingency plan will be published for students on RU website, presented during presentation week and other education updated regularly. 
Updated contingency plans introduced every two years before the end of spring following a new version.

Upon the release of the new plan, it will be presented to students, every other year, due next before the end of 2022.
In the employee interview, the person in question will be asked whether they have attended a course during the year. Workplace analysis.
That education about gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual violence is easily accessible to staff and students. Director of Human Resources, Head of communication, Head of Equal Rights Committee. Education/courses and presentations   will be offered for all employees and students during each academic year. For staff: During recruitment presentations as needed and other education regularly and as needed.  The equality report states how the education was organised and how well it was attended.
Assistance for victims among employees. Immediate administrators, Director of Human Resources. Victims will be offered appropriate assistance from third parties, for example, psychological assistance. As needed. Victims will be offered a follow-up interview after six months have passed.
Assistance for victims among students. Student counsellor or RU psychologist will be assigned the task of assisting the person in question. Victims will be given information on the assistance that is available. As needed. Victims will be offered a follow-up interview after six months have passed.
Correct response in perpetrators' cases among employees. Rector, immediate administrators, Director of Human Resources. Procedural rules will be established based on the severity of the offence and number of offences. As needed. Appropriate measures taken with reference to procedural rules.
Correct response in perpetrators' cases among students. Dean, Advisory Council, Director of Student Counselling. Work will be carried out in accordance with the action plan regarding bullying, sexual/gender-based harassment and violence of students. As needed. Appropriate measures taken with reference to procedural rules.

14. Equality in the internal work of RU

Teaching materials shall be designed in such a way that they are appropriate for everyone irrespective of gender and in no way show discrimination against students or employees. The genders of teachers instructing students in mandatory courses will be as equally balanced as possible.

Students will be offered equality and gender education where for example, gender stereotypes, gender-based study and career choices and issues of disabled people and gay people, are covered.

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
To achieve gender balance among students in each School. Programme Directors and School Deans. Summarize the data provided in the appendix to this plan. March, each year. Presented at staff meetings and followed up in departments.
To improve gender balance in teaching materials. Programme Directors, School Deans and teachers. Teachers will review their teaching material according to the Equality Programme. They will seek to refer not only to the works of male authors on the reading list of courses. Annually. Administrators will ensure that teachers are aware of this objective.
To achieve gender balance among teachers in mandatory courses. Programme Directors and School Deans.

Care shall be taken to ensure that no single gender has an abnormally high proportion of teachers in compulsory courses in each study programme.

Gender diversity shall be carefully considered when hiring.

Before each semester. Overview of the gender of teachers in mandatory courses will be published in the Equality Report.
Gender-neutral courses. Teaching Affairs and Registry and individual departments. Care shall be taken to ensure that the titles of courses and the wording of course descriptions appeal to all genders.

Before each semester.

Departments will submit an overview to Teaching Affairs and Registry concerning what courses have undergone changes.
Care shall be taken to ensure that the gender ratio of practical session instructors and research assistants is as even as possible. School Deans, Programme Directors and academic employees. In recruitment, students shall be encouraged to apply for positions, irrespective of gender.

Before each semester.

Overview in Equality Report.
Care shall be taken to ensure gender neutrality in all strategy formulation within RU. Rector, Schools Deans, Department Chairs, as appropriate. In all strategy formulation within RU, special consideration will be given to gender neutrality.

As appropriate.

The Equality Committee will receive the University's strategy for comment to point out strengths and weaknesses.
Equality education. Director of Human Resources/ Director of communications/Director of Teaching Affairs and Registry/ Icelandic Rectors' Conference/ Event Manager. During Orientation Days, equal rights issues will be specially discussed. Equality education will be offered during Equality Days.

As appropriate.

Each fall.

At the beginning of spring semester. 




In surveys carried out among students, questions will be asked on their opinions towards equal rights issues and conclusions used as a basis for further education.

15. Appendix. Contents of Equality Report.

Each year, statistics on gender balance, nationality and age distribution of employees shall be compiled and published. Results shall be published for the University as a whole, each department/unit, academic positions, administrative positions and the main committees and councils.

The following is an overview of the basic tables that shall be published in the annual RU Equality Report and which reflect the emphasis of this Equality Programme.

I. Employees

Gender diversity of employees

  • by departments/units
  • by administrative positions
  • by academic positions, including part-time teachers
  • committees, councils and boards

Division of employees by nationality

  • by departments/units
  • by administrative positions
  • by academic positions, including part-time teachers
  • committees, councils and boards

Age distribution of employees

  • by departments/units
  • by administrative positions
  • by academic positions, including part-time teachers
  • committees, councils and boards

Gender diversity of teachers in mandatory courses

  • by departments
  • by study programmes

Overview of hirings and job leavers by gender and field, including how many positions were advertised.

II. Students

Gender diversity of students

  • by departments
  • by study programmes

Gender diversity of applicants and admitted students

  • by departments
  • by study programmes

Division of students by nationality

  • by departments
  • by study programmes as appropriate

Age distribution of students

  • by departments
  • by study programmes

Overview of graduated students

  • by departments
  • by gender
  • by nationality

Gender diversity of practical session instructors and research assistants among students

  • by departments
  • by study programmes as appropriate

III. Other matters

Composition of committees, councils and boards by gender

  • including selection committees

An overview of equality education/courses at RU for students and staff.

This Equality Programme shall also serve as the base of the material which shall be presented in the Equality Report, in particular, the follow-up of set objectives could be examined.

Equality Programme approved by the Equality Committee on 23 June 2021.

  • Ása María Ásgeirsdóttir, Student Representative
  • Ingunn Gunnarsdóttir
  • Katrín Rut Bessadóttir
  • Kári Halldórsson
  • Kolbrún Eir Óskarsdóttir, Equal Rights Representative
  • Rannveig S Sigurvinsdóttir
  • Þóra Hallgrímsdóttir
  • Ester Gústavsdóttir, Director of Human Resources

Equality Programme approved by the Equality Committee on 26 September 2018 and by the RU Executive Board on 28 September 2018.


Was the content helpful? Yes No