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Gender Equality in Distance Education

Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has an equality plan that describes the equality situation at TAMK and measures to promote staff and students' equality. According to legislation enacted in 2015, employers and education providers are required to assess and promote equality in their operations in addition to preventing discrimination. The equality plan follows these requirements and lists equality promotion measures for the period 2020-2021. Equality work aims at identifying and preventing expressions, structures and operations which maintain or increase inequality and at strengthening and increasing equality practices. The equality plan aims at including the equality viewpoint in the evaluation of education and teaching and student admission as well as supporting students and applicants who want to diverge from the traditional gender roles. Equal treatment of staff is an important part of management. Equality is believed to increase wellbeing of students and staff and their experience of equality and thus have a positive effect on the entire university community.

Equal Career Paths for Women – NOW! project aims to support and promote equal employment and career development for women. The focus is on vertical equality in three fields: technology, business, as well as security and risk management. The project is coordinated by Tampere University of Applied Sciences TAMK, and it is implemented by three Universities (Aalto, LUT and Tampere), five Universities of Applied Sciences (TAMK, JAMK, Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Oamk) and the trade union Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK. 

The Finnish labour market is among the most gender segregated in the EU. Women head for professions in education and care, whereas men are directed to technology and logistics. Within different fields, the segregation continues and manifests itself as differences in jobs, wages, and career paths. Gender segregation is present especially in the fields of technology, business, and security. It is necessary, therefore, to strive for more equality and less segregation. The project produces new and topical knowledge about the causes and consequences of gender segregation in Finnish working life and it creates, pilots and consolidates – especially in the field of technology – new forms of study and career counseling, career services and entrepreneurial support for female students and professionals. Various activities help the formation of peer networks and the development of practices which promote equality and diversity of professions.

1. The concrete objectives of the Equal Career Paths for Women – NOW! project are: to produce and disseminate knowledge regarding equality and gender parity

2. To develop and disseminate the best practices in gender awareness study and career counseling, to develop female students' working life contacts, and to support the universities in devising and implementing equality plans

3. To support the careers and entrepreneurship of females with higher education, and

4. To increase the knowledge on unconscious bias among the universities and companies. Good communications throughout the project help to disseminate knowledge and good practices among the project partners and within the society during as well after the project period.

NaisTech – reducing the segregation by gender in working life and studies -project. This TAMK's project:

1. Encourages girls in secondary and upper-secondary education to take an open-minded approach to technology studies at university level

2. Encourages unemployed women to seek diverse career paths as workers and entrepreneurs

3. Develops and pilots training materials, to spark women's interest in technology

4. Provides an up-to-date picture of today's technology requirements, diverse jobs and working conditions

5. Builds a mentoring network among entrepreneurs, technology teachers, and guidance counsellors.

Women into Engineering – JKU's Plan for the Advancement of Women explicitly stipulates the promotion of women's access to university studies. By organizing informational events at the university as well as visits to schools throughout the region, Women into Engineering's exclusively female ambassadors specifically address young women interested in STEM and show that technical fields can be female as well. In 2019, 24 ambassadors reached 1375 pupils at more than 60 schools in Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Salzburg with presentations and counselling.

Space for Diversity – JKU's Gender & Diversity Report forms the basis for monitoring and for further measures concerning the advancement of women, gender equality and diversity. It illustrates the distribution of women and men among the student body, among academic and non-academic staff and for certain aspects of diversity (age structure, working hours, leaves of absence, caregiving duties, educational qualification and international composition). Section 4 of JKU’s Plan for the Advancement of Women designates areas with a female proportion of less than 40% as “women’s advancement areas”. By allowing for an evaluation of university targets related to gender equality for women and men, the collected and exemplified report data render apparent areas still requiring action and thus aid in the conception of targeted improvement measures.

Gender and Science – as part of JKU's Plan for the Advancement of Women, the university commits to implementing women- and gender-sensitive courses into all curricula. Furthermore, the plan also stipulates that women- and gender sensitive research is to be present throughout all fields and areas. All members of university, especially its governing bodies, are obligated to actively counteract existing underrepresentation of women, remove existing disadvantages, preserve a female ratio of 40% where already achieved, and increase women’s share in research projects and habilitations.

Awareness Raising Trainings for Employees – in order to foster equality oriented working environments, JKU offers awareness raising trainings for employees and managerial staff. In the Summer Term of 2020 these include classes on Privilege Awareness, on Unconscious Biases Affecting Staff-Selection and Decision-Making Processes, as well as on Using and Understanding Inclusive Language. JKU's on-boarding program for non-academic staff is partly conducted by a member of the Gender & Diversity Unit covering equality essentials while the compulsory training for new scientific university staff with teaching responsibilities at JKU includes a section on "Diversity in Teaching".

Logo European Commission 'co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.