Finland “still has much work to do” to promote equality in academic institutions

Finland "still has much work to do" to promote equality in academic institutions. Image: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 330728258/

A report from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has stated that the country “still has much work to do” on promoting equality for teaching and research staff belonging to minority groups. 

According to YLE, the report, which was commissioned by the ministry, aimed to analyse what higher education institutions are doing to promote and improve greater gender equality, non-discrimination and diversity. 

As well as these topics, it also sought to consider the challenge of ethnic-background discrimination within higher education. 

The director of the project, Julia Jousilahti, lamented the fact that research on ethnic equality in academic environments is “scarce” and said there was much more work to be done to understand the topic better. 

Jousilahti added that until now the debate on equality in academics had focused more narrowly on gender. 

The director general of the ministry Atte Jääskeläinen added that equality and non-discrimination are important values that must be promoted. He explained that embracing these values was a key to building “healthy workplace communities” and that this would in turn lead to “better research results and educational outcomes”. 

The authors of the report have recommended a four-pronger approach to ensuring gender equality, non-discrimination and diversity. 

Specific policy recommendations include improvements to the monitoring and implementation of equality and non-discrimination plans, federal support for these efforts, the introduction of mandatory training in those subjects among managers and recruitment staff, and financial support for the collection of data and research into gender equality and diversity in academic institutions.

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