Gender Equality Plan

The Strategy of the University of Akureyri places an emphasis on four values: progressiveness, equality, independence and trust. This Gender Equality Plan applies for the years 2021 to 2024.

Guiding principles and overall objectives

In all operations, the University of Akureyri strives to ensure equal rights and equal status of women, men and people whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland. This applies to students, employees and those involved in the operations in other ways.

The University of Akureyri works on gender mainstreaming in all strategy formulation and decision-making, and will also make use of specific temporary measures to correct unequal status of the genders.

About the Gender Equality Plan

This Gender Equality Plan covers only equality and equal status of the genders, but places an emphasis on integrating gender perspectives with other perspectives in strategy formulation, decision-making and implementation. It is in accordance with concepts and requirements specified in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender no. 150/2020.

The Gender Equality Plan is consistent with other strategies and programmes of UNAK that are intended to ensure equal status among employees and students, such as the Strategy on Equal Access to Studies and Work at the University of Akureyri, Human Resource Strategy of the University of Akureyri, Language Policy and Strategy of the University of Akureyri 2018 to 2023. The Equal Rights Committee of the University supervises and follows up on the Gender Equality Plan in consultation with the Management Board. An emphasis is placed on mutual responsibility of all administrators at UNAK as regards initiative in attending to equality affairs in general.

Objectives and measures

This Plan covers equality of the genders among students and staff, as well as gender mainstreaming in strategy formulation and decision-making of the University.

The Plan specifies objectives in eight sections and measures that are intended to contribute to the objectives being attained. Measures are scheduled where appropriate and a responsible party designated.

I. Management of equal rights affairs, instruction and gender mainstreaming

1. Responsibility and management of equal rights affairs

The Rector, University Council and Management Board are the parties primarily responsible for implementing this Plan but can assign to others, such as other administrators, the Equal Rights Committee of UNAK or individual employees, the supervision of and follow-up to individual aspects.

1.1. Equal Rights Committee

The Equal Rights Committee is composed of one member from each School, one from the University Office and Rector’s Office and two members from the Union of Students (SHA). In addition, the Rector appoints the Chair of the Committee. The University provides the Committee with an employee. A man and a woman shall be nominated for each seat and one of them shall serve as a primary member and the other as an alternate member, and the Rector shall ensure that the gender ratio is as equal as possible (that is, 40/60%). This provision, though, does not prevent the nomination and appointment of people whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland.

The Equal Rights Committee shall generally hold meetings on a monthly basis and no fewer than six meetings shall take place each year. Every year, Deans of Schools, the Director of Quality and Human Resources, Director of Marketing and Public Relations and Director of the University Office shall attend a meeting of the Committee where the status of equal rights affairs at the University as a whole is discussed, as well as in each School. Also, an assessment shall take place with respect to how tasks relating to this plan are progressing and necessary measures shall be taken or a review carried out if sufficient progress is not being made.

The Equal Rights Committee publishes a summary of the operations of the Committee in the annual report of UNAK.

The primary roles of the Committee are the following:

  • Follow up this Plan.
  • Follow up the Strategy on Equal Access to Studies and Work at the University of Akureyri.
  • Contribute to gender mainstreaming being attended to in all strategy formulation and planning.
    • Ensure that students and employees receive instruction on equal rights affairs.
    • Communicate with the Directorate of Equality, such as in relation to equal pay certification and the Gender Equality Plan.

Timing: The Equal Rights Committee is appointed for a period of two years at a time.
Responsibility: The Rector is responsible for the appointment of the Equal Rights Committee and its work.

1.2. Members of the Equal Rights Committee

Members of the Equal Rights Committee shall, at no cost to themselves, attend seminars on gender equality and gender mainstreaming (see section 2.1 here below). Furthermore, they shall have an overview of gender ratios in the group of employees and students in their School. Their role is to encourage the enforcement of the Plan and to serve as a point of contact between their clients and the Equal Rights Committee. In order for this to occur, those who serve in the role at each time shall be exempt from some of those other tasks that are generally a part of their work duties; for this purpose, the superior in question shall be contacted.

Timing: Members of the Committee shall attend seminars and be active in their work within six months of a new Committee being appointed.

Responsibility: Rector, Deans of Schools, Director of the University Office and the Equal Rights Committee.

2. Gender mainstreaming* in administration

Gender and equality mainstreaming shall be observed in all operations of the University, such as in management, human resource affairs, and teaching and research, and gender equality shall serve as a guiding principle in strategy formulation, decision-making and planning, cf. Article 30 in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender no. 150/2020. Instruction on equal rights affairs for administrators is a fundamental prerequisite for successful mainstreaming.

*See definition of gender mainstreaming and other concepts used in this Plan in Article 2 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender.

2.1.  Presentation and instruction

After the Gender Equality Plan has been approved, it shall be presented to all administrators at the University in a special seminar or meeting. It shall be ensured at each time that administrators at the University and members of the Equal Rights Committee have fundamental knowledge of the methodology of gender mainstreaming, the effects of unconscious gender-based bias and of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender, as well as other public engagements relating to gender equality. To ensure this, regular seminars shall be held for members of the Committee, as well as for administrators. Furthermore, it shall be ensured that the Gender Equality Plan and its main points of emphasis appear on the website of the University and in promotional material.

Timing: Within three months from when the Plan is approved by the University Council and the Directorate of Equality.
Responsibility: Rector, Gender Equality Committee, Management Board and Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

2.2.  Gender and equality mainstreaming – equality screening

All Schools, institutions and administration of the University shall observe gender and equality mainstreaming in their operations. When working on strategy formulation or decision-making, the needs and perspectives of the genders shall always be taken into account and the consequences of strategy and measures with respect to equality shall be analysed.

A special form shall be prepared that simplifies and facilitates this process.

Timing: The form shall be ready and introduced to employees in the fall of 2021 and shall have been taken into regular use in committees and councils in all Schools during the academic year 2021–2022.
Responsibility: The Management Board is responsible for implementation but the Director of Quality and Human Resources and the Gender Equality Committee are responsible for reviewing the form.

2.3.  Gender-specific information

Statistical information, such as concerning professional advancement and research activity, shall be gender-specific when appropriate and shall appear on the UNAK website unless special reasons, such as interests of the protection of personal data, oppose this.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: UNAK Key Statistics Team.

2.4.  General instruction and advice on equal rights affairs

All employees and students of the University shall have the option of and be encouraged to receive instruction and advice on gender equality and gender mainstreaming each year. When welcoming new staff members and during first-year student orientation, this Plan shall be presented.

Timing: Annually.
Responsibility: Equal Rights Committee, Director of Quality and Human Resources and Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

2.5.  Gender equality in minority groups

Special emphasis shall be placed on preventing gender inequality from occurring in groups that may be faced with other kinds of inequality, such as because of disability, skin colour, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or other factors. In relation to follow-up to the Strategy on Equal Access to Studies and Work at the University of Akureyri, Language Policy of the University of Akureyri etc., it shall always be kept in mind that the status of women and men in minority groups may be different and special attention must be given to the gender that is at a disadvantage at each time.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Gender Equality Committee and Director of Quality and Human Resources.

 

II. Measures to contribute to equal status of the genders among employees

3. Employee salaries

Objective: That no gender-based wage difference is found within the University of Akureyri.

3.1. Follow-up

To maintain equal pay certification, a periodic internal appraisal is carried out with regard to the processes of equal pay certification. The Equal Rights Committee appoints representatives to participate in the internal appraisal.

Timing: Twice each year according to the appraisal programme.
Responsibility: Equal Rights Committee.

3.2. Presentation of results of internal appraisal

The Equal Rights Committee shall appoint representatives for administrator review where the results of the internal appraisal are presented and an action plan formed.

Timing: Annually.
Responsibility: Director of the University Office.

4. Gender diversity in jobs

Objective: Positions at UNAK shall not be classified into men’s and women’s jobs.

4.1. Advertisements and hirings

When advertising positions and hiring employees, care shall always be taken to contribute to gender balance in the respective working group. When advertising positions, it shall not only be assumed that persons are male or female, cf. Act on Gender Autonomy no. 80/2019 and the Act on Equal Treatment on the Labour Market no. 86/2018. Each advertised position shall be open to all genders.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Director of Quality and Human Resources.

4.2. Management positions

When hiring for management positions at UNAK, as much balance as possible shall be maintained between women and men.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Rector, Director of the University Office and Director of Quality and Human Resources.

4.3.  Research

It shall be ensured that people of all genders have equal opportunities for research activity and acquisition of research points and for applying for grants to research funds.

Timing: People shall be reminded of this each year in connection with presentation of research semesters and grants from research funds.
Responsibility: Deans of Schools, Research Leave Committee and boards of funds.

4.4.  Retraining

Necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that all genders have equal opportunities regarding retraining, continuing education and vocational training, and to attend courses held to enhance vocational skills or to prepare for other assignment occupations, cf. Paragraph 2 in Article 12 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender.

Timing: Annually.
Responsibility: Director of Quality and Human Resources and the immediate superior of each employee.

4.5.  Academic housework and other incidental work

Care shall be taken that so-called academic housework and other incidental work is handled equally by all academic staff, regardless of gender.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Immediate superior of each employee.

4.6.  Visibility of the genders

Every effort shall be made to ensure that the ratio of men and women is as even as possible among employees who represent the University in public. This applies to media, the website, meetings and events. For this purpose, the University shall have a list of the specialty areas of employees available if members of the media seek to interview people with certain specialist knowledge. Furthermore, employees of Marketing and Public Relations shall monitor the gender ratio of those who publically represent the University and present the results to the Equal Rights Committee once each year. If a gender deficit is detected, specific solutions can be used to correct that deficit, such as a seminar in making media appearances.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Director of Marketing and Public Relations and the Equal Rights Committee.

5. Committees and councils

Objective: The ratio between women and men serving in all committees and councils under the auspices of UNAK shall always be as equal as possible. Objective arguments shall be presented if this aim is deviated from, cf. Article 28 in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender.

5.1.  A woman and a man in each seat

When requesting nominations for committees, within and outside UNAK, both a man and a woman shall be nominated for each seat and the person appointing the committee chooses randomly an equal ratio of the genders from that group. It is permissible to deviate from that condition when, in consequence of objective circumstances, this is not possible, cf. Paragraph 2 in Article 28 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender. This provision does not prevent the nomination of people whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Rector.

5.2.  Management Board

When appointing the Management Board, every effort shall be made to ensure that the ratio of women and men is as equal as possible. If this is not accomplished, ways shall be sought to correct this deficit, such as by attending to changed composition of the Board.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: University Council and Rector.

6. Working environment

Objectives: Every effort shall be made to provide equal conditions for students and employees at UNAK and create an environment where all genders can flourish. Bullying, violence, gender-based and sexual harassment and gender-based and sexual violence are never tolerated.

6.1. Instruction

Educational material on the nature, consequences of and response to gender-based harassment, sexual harassment and gender-based violence shall be accessible in the student handbook on the UNAK website. Here shall be information on the process for complaints, such as regarding gender-based harassment. At the start of each academic year, discussion on gender-based harassment and discrimination shall be placed on the agenda of School Assemblies and Faculty Meetings; furthermore, students and staff shall always be reminded of these matters when working environment, safety and well-being at the University are discussed.

Timing: It shall be ensured that such information is always in place and accessible for both students and employees.
Responsibility: Director of Student Counselling Services, Director of Quality and Human Resources, SHA, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Deans of Schools, Heads of Faculty and other administrators.

6.2.  Clear response process

The University Council appoints a Professional Council for a term of three years at a time, which has the role of processing cases that concern bullying, violence, gender-based and sexual harassment and gender-based and sexual violence.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Professional Council on response to bullying, violence, gender-based and sexual harassment and gender-based and sexual violence.

6.3.  Coordination of personal life and work

Where possible, care shall be taken to maintain a certain flexibility, for example, as regards work facilities and work hours, so that staff can coordinate their work and personal life. This shall especially be kept in mind when people return to work after maternity and parental leave, illness leave or leave due to urgent family circumstances (see Human Resource Strategy of UNAK and action 2.2 gender mainstreaming - checklist).

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Director of Quality and Human Resources, Rector, Directors in the University Office and Deans of Schools.

 

III. Measures to contribute to equal status of the genders among students

7. Gender mainstreaming in promotional material and social activities

Objective: In all work and studies of students at the University of Akureyri, the status of women and men shall be as equal as possible, as well as their position in administrative activities. It is permissible to deviate from that condition when, in consequence of objective circumstances, this is not possible, cf. Paragraph 2 in Article 28 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender. This provision does not prevent the nomination of people whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland.

7.1.  Both women and men shall be visible in promotional material from the University of Akureyri

The University of Akureyri shall, in cooperation with SHA, take care that all promotional material from the University shows both women and men and thus counteracts stereotypes on the roles of the genders.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Director of Marketing and Public Relations and SHA.

7.2.  Equal participation in social activities

Purposeful work shall be undertaken to encourage students to participate in social activities and to ensure that both women and men are nominated for commissions of trust and administrative positions within SHA, as well as for committees and councils of the University, cf. Article 28 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender. This provision does not prevent the nomination of people whose gender is registered as neutral in Registers Iceland.

Timing: At the start of each academic year, people shall be reminded that the ratio between women and men among students in councils and boards shall be as equal as possible.
Responsibility: SHA, Equal Rights Committee and Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

8. Gender mainstreaming in the studies

Objectives: Gender studies shall be given increased weight in the University’s course offerings and gender mainstreaming shall occur in all course components, as applicable, in accordance with Article 15 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender. Courses shall also be offered that address specific aspects of gender studies.

8.1. Gender studies

The objective shall be to offer gender studies for students in all Faculties of the University. The Schools decide further on implementation and set forth a plan.

Timing: The idea shall be presented and discussed in Faculty Meetings in Schools in the fall of 2021.
Responsibility: Chairs of Curriculum Committees and the Equal Rights Committee.

8.2.  Gender mainstreaming in subjects

All courses shall be examined with respect to whether gender can be a variable in the courses in question. If so, gender mainstreaming shall be integrated into teaching and this shall be specified in curriculums and course catalogues and/or learning outcomes, cf. Article 15 in the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender.

Timing: Ongoing.
Responsibility: Supervising teachers, Curriculum Committees and Heads of Faculty.

8.3.  Annual equality initiative

Each year, the Equal Rights Committee shall in cooperation with SHA organise an equality initiative where attention is drawn to equality, for example, through symposiums, forums, talks, courses, artistic events and group work relating to gender equality. Participation of students and staff shall be ensured in as many events as possible, and some events shall also be open to the public.

Timing: Equality Days that take place in the spring semester of each year.
Responsibility: Gender Equality Committee, SHA, Deans of Schools and Directors of institutions.