Equal conditions are a matter of rights for the individual and a success factor for organizations and society. An equal conditions perspective should be integrated into all parts of a business, and the work environment should be characterized by openness and respect,
Working with equal opportunities, a widespread understanding meets my colleagues and me in the council for equal conditions at Uppsala University that our work fulfils an important function. The vast majority think that it is obvious that all people should have the same rights, opportunities and obligations. But more knowledge is needed about how to create an inclusive work environment as an organization. In some cases, there is also a lack of competence in how long-term and successful equal conditions work should best be conducted, which can lead to the efforts being point-oriented and driven by enthusiasts.
Many organizations also need to broaden their focus in work for equal conditions from the legal gender to apply to all seven grounds of discrimination. In general, knowledge is better about discrimination and gender equality when it comes to legal gender, and many of us need to learn more about discrimination, norms and values linked to other grounds of discrimination.
At Uppsala University, the work takes place on equal terms at many levels within the organization. Given that the organization is decentralized, coordination is also needed at the central level, and we, therefore, have an equal conditions council with representatives from the university’s different parts with a rector’s council as chairman.
One of the things that the university has worked on is how transgender people should be treated in the best way. The goal has been to train teachers on how to deal with transgender people and create a safe working environment for them.
We have also worked on how we can make it easier for students with special needs. There is now an adapted examination room where students with, for example, dyslexia or concentration difficulties, or who need their own assistant or a service dog, have the opportunity to write their examination.
One area that Uppsala University focuses on going forward is broadened recruitment, as the university does not reflect what the surrounding society looks like. Two of the three fields of science have worked to investigate the causes of this imbalance and what can be done about it.
The university is also working long-term to increase the number of professors with legal gender. To achieve a gender distribution within the range of 40 to 60 per cent, we need to work with, among other things, work environment issues and transparent career paths. In this work, of course, we also need to ensure that recruitment and skills supply takes place on objective grounds and that there is an awareness of discrimination and bias through all steps in the recruitment process.
At Uppsala University, we see equal conditions as a quality issue. Equal conditions work inspiring and long-term for the university’s development and continued success.
This blog post is a translation of a debate article that I wrote for Tidningen Publikt about equal opportunities. You find the Swedish article here: https://bit.ly/3lhhPIp.