Equality, Staff Diversity and Pride

In its strategy, the University of Eastern Finland is committed to promoting diversity. This is not just a matter choosing our values, but having a diverse staff will promote the implementation of our strategy on a larger scale. Various studies show that groups formed by people with different backgrounds and orientations are more innovative than homogeneous groups. For a university that generates new knowledge and seeks to solve global challenges, it is important to increase diversity.

This requires that various minorities are also included in our human resources policy and in the activities of our units. When we recruit new employees, we want to find the best candidates regardless of their gender, nationality or sexual orientation. A university that is open, tolerant and constantly expanding its recruitment pool is a university that will best succeed in its core mission.

The Constitution of Finland defines equality as a basic right, and this right plays a key role in our activities. Equality means that everyone is equal regardless of their gender, age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religious conviction or sexual orientation – just to pick a few examples.

In a just society, these kinds of personal characteristics should not affect people’s opportunities to access education or services, or to secure employment. In a liberal democracy, everyone can, within the framework of the law, pursue their dreams and become the person they feel they were meant to be.

In the world of work, labour legislation supplements equality. In workplaces, the main focus is on work, and the employer’s right of direction is recorded in law. Otherwise, people get to be who they are, and everyone must be treated with respect in the workplace. The equal rights of people must be safeguarded as required by legislation, collective agreements and equal treatment of employees in similar positions.  In workplaces, people may not be discriminated against on the basis of their age, gender, ethnic background and sexual orientation, and these may not affect recruitment decisions, terms of employment contracts, or how people are treated at work. In job interviews, it is against the law to ask about things that are not pertinent to the position. A person’s private life, such as his or her sexual orientation, is not something that concerns the employer. However, should an employee be harassed or bullied at work because of his or her sexual orientation, supervisors are required to address the matter.

I’m wishing everyone a great Pride Week!

With hopes of increasing equality diversity,

Jouni Kekäle

Chair of UEF’s Equality and Equal Opportunities Committee

Human Resources Director