Equality programme

Reykjavik University 2018 - 2020

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.

The Equality Programme of RU is based on Articles 18–23 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men No. 10/2008.

Article 18 The labour market

Employers and trade unions shall work deliberately to bring women and men on an equal footing on the labour market. Employers shall work specifically to put women and men on an equal footing within their enterprise or institution and to take steps to avoid jobs being classified as specifically women's or men's jobs. Particular emphasis shall be placed on achieving equal representation of women and men in managerial and influential positions.

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, the following: 

"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."

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 gender-based harassment, sexual violence and bullying will not be tolerated within the University.

According to provisions in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men, RU is obligated to establish an Equality Programme which states how the aims of the Act will be achieved in order to guarantee that employees will enjoy the rights set forth in law.

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

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.

Equality Committee

The Equality Committee is composed of representatives from each School and from support services, in addition to a student representative.

The role of the Equality Committee includes:

  • Following up on the RU Equality Programme in collaboration with the Executive 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.

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 2020.

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 jobs. Concerning definition of wages and terms of employment, refer to Paragraphs 8 and 9 of Article 2 and Article 19 in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men No. 10/2008.

In Equality Programmes, aims shall be presented and actions pursued in accordance with the following article:

Article 19 Wage equality
Women and men working for the same employer shall be paid equal wages and enjoy equal terms of employment for the same jobs or jobs of equal value. By “equal wages” is meant that wages shall be determined in the same way for women and men. The criteria on the basis of which wages are determined shall not involve gender discrimination. Workers shall at all times, upon their choice, be permitted to disclose their wage terms.

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 shall be conducted 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 Board which is responsible for taking action.

RU will receive an equal pay certification in 2018.

Periodically (at least every three years), an independent party shall perform an assessment of wages and terms of employment at Reykjavik 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 so far as possible and 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 or School Dean as appropriate. Executive Director of Human Resources.

 

Independent appraisal of employees' wages and terms of employment. At least once every three years. The last appraisal was presented in the fall of 2016. If differences are revealed then wages shall be corrected as appropriate.
Equal pay certification. Rector. Certification. End of year 2018. Certification shall be maintained according to the provisions of the law.

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.

Objective 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.

The following article serves as a basis:

Article 20 Vacancies, vocational training, retraining and continuing education (lifelong learning)
Vacant positions that are open for application shall be equally accessible to women and men. [...]

Gender 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 School/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 the minority in the respective area of work.

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

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, gender 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. School Deans. Annual summary of the composition of assessment committees in the Equality Report. Annually. The Executive 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. Executive Director or School Dean as appropriate. Executive Director of Human Resources. Annual summary of appointments for administrative positions will be published in the Equality Report. Annually. The Executive Director of Human Resources will be able to request explanation if only persons of one gender have been considered.

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 will be gender mixed. School Deans, Executive Directors, 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. Annually. The Executive 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 least 40% 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. The Equality Board will formally request explanations if there is not a balanced representation of genders.

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.

The following article serves as a basis:

Article 20 Vacancies, vocational training, retraining and continuing education (lifelong learning)

[...] Employers shall take necessary measures to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities regarding retraining, continuing education (lifelong learning) and vocational training, and to attend courses held to enhance vocational skills or to prepare for other assignments/occupations.

 

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
Ensure that all employees, irrespective of gender 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. The Executive Director of Human Resources will ensure that employee interviews take place and that professional training and development are discussed in the interviews. Workplace analysis.

Reconciliation of work and family 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.


The following article serves as a basis:

Article 21 Reconciliation of work and family life.
Employers shall take the measures necessary to enable women and men to reconcile their professional obligations and family responsibilities. Amongst other things, such measures shall be aimed at increasing flexibility in the organization of work and working hours in such a way as to take account of both workers' family circumstances and the needs of the labour market, including facilitating the return of employees to work following maternity/paternity or parental leave or leave from work due to pressing and unavoidable family circumstances.

 

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
That all employees can balance their professional obligations and family responsibilities. Rector, Executive Director of Human Resources, 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.   Survey results presented.
That all students can balance their academic obligations and family responsibilities. School Deans, Programme Directors and teachers. Organisation of school calendar and workload will take into consideration the needs of people with families.  

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

 

 

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.

The following article serves as a basis:

Article 22 Gender-based violence, gender-based harassment and sexual harassment
Employers and the directors of institutions and non-governmental organisations shall take special measures to protect employees, students and clients from gender-based violence, gender-based harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace, in institutions, in their work for, or the functions of, their societies, or in schools.

If a superior is charged with alleged gender-based violence, alleged gender-based harassment or alleged sexual harassment, he or she shall be non-competent to take decisions regarding the working conditions of the plaintiff during the examination of the case, and the next superior shall take such decisions.

Definitions:

Gender-based harassment: Conduct which is connected with the sex of the person affected by it, is unwelcome to the person in question 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 unwelcome to the person affected by it and 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; also the threat of such and coercion or arbitrary deprivation of freedom.

 

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. Executive Director of Human Resources. Procedural rules periodically reviewed. Annually. The Executive Director of Human Resources monitors the number of cases that are notified. Workplace analysis.
To prevent gender-based violence. Rector, Executive Director of Human Resources and School Deans hold primary responsibility but all employees and all students hold responsibility. Employees will be provided with appropriate training. Students will be provided with appropriate training. Annually.

Education/training will be offered for all employees and students during each academic year.

In the employee interview, the person in question will be asked whether he/she has attended a course during the year.

To prevent gender-based harassment. Rector, Executive Director of Human Resources and School Deans hold primary responsibility but all employees and all students hold responsibility.

Employees will be provided with appropriate training.

Students will be provided with appropriate training.

Annually.

Education/training will be offered for all employees and students during each academic year.

In the employee interview, the person in question will be asked whether he/she has attended a course during the year.

To prevent sexual harassment. Rector, Executive Director of Human Resources and School Deans hold primary responsibility but all employees and all students hold responsibility.

Employees will be provided with appropriate training.

Students will be provided with appropriate training.

Annually.

Education/training will be offered for all employees and students during each academic year.

In the employee interview, the person in question will be asked whether he/she has attended a course during the year.

Assistance for survivors among employees. Executive Director of Human Resources. Survivors will be offered appropriate assistance, for example, psychological assistance. As needed. Survivors will be offered a follow-up interview after six months have passed.
Assistance for survivors among students. Student counsellor will be assigned the task of assisting the person in question. Survivors will be given information on the assistance that is available. As needed. Survivors will be offered a follow-up interview after six months have passed.
Abusers among employees. Executive Director of Human Resources. Procedural rules will be established based on the severity of the offence and number of offences. Participation in the mutual response team of the universities will be looked into which would take over these cases. As needed. Appropriate measures taken with reference to procedural rules.
Abusers among students. Ethics Committee processes cases. Work will be conducted according to the procedural rules of the Ethics Committee. As needed. Appropriate measures taken with reference to procedural rules.

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.

Article 23 Education and schooling
Gender mainstreaming shall be observed in all policy-making and planning in the work of the schools and educational institutions [...]. 

At all levels of the educational system, pupils shall receive instruction on gender equality issues in which emphasis shall be placed, amongst other things, on preparing both sexes to play an equal role in society, including work and family life. 

Educational materials and textbooks shall be designed in such a way as not to discriminate against either sex.

 

Objective Responsibility Action Time frame Follow-up
Achieve gender balance among students in each School. Programme Directors and School Deans. When admitting students, care will be taken to admit more individuals of the gender which is in the minority, as possible. Each spring. Overview of gender diversity in applications and admissions, as well as gender diversity in Schools shall be published in the Equality Report.
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 not only refer to the works of male authors in the reading list of courses.    
Achieve gender balance among teachers in mandatory courses. Programme Directors and School Deans. When deciding who will teach mandatory courses in specific subjects, attention will be given to gender diversity. Before each semester. Overview of teachers in mandatory courses will be published in the Equality Report.
Gender-neutral courses. Teaching Affairs and Registry and individual Schools. Care shall be taken to ensure that the titles of courses and wording of course descriptions appeal to all genders. Annually. Schools 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. Annually. Overview in Equality Report.  

Care shall be taken to ensure gender neutrality in all strategy formulation within RU.

 

Rector, Schools Deans, as appropriate.

 

In all strategy formulation within RU, special consideration will be given to gender neutrality.

As appropriate.

 

The Equality Board will receive the University's strategy for comment to point out strengths and weaknesses.

 

 

Equality education

 

Executive Director of Human Resources / Director of Teaching Affairs and Registry

 

During Orientation Days, equal rights issues will be specially discussed. Equality education will be offered during Equality Days.

 

Annually.

 

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.  

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

Division of employees by nationality

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

Age distribution of employees

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

Gender diversity of teachers in mandatory courses

  • by Schools
  • 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 Schools
  • by study programmes

Gender diversity of applicants and admitted students

  • by Schools
  • by study programmes

Division of students by nationality

  • by Schools
  • by study programmes as appropriate

Age distribution of students

  • by Schools
  • by study programmes

Overview of graduated students

  • by Schools
  • by gender
  • by nationality

Gender diversity of practical session instructors and research assistants among students

  • by Schools
  • by study programmes as appropriate 

III.        Other matters 

Composition of committees, councils and boards by gender

  • including selection committees


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



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