The Gender Equality Plan for the employees and students who need to combine professional work with caring for children, “We are all equal” campaign, “The Anti-Discrimination Guidebook”, or “The Guide to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the University of Warsaw” provide examples of the actions undertaken by the UW against any non-discrimination behaviour. Here, we are discussing the ongoing actions and planned activities to ensure equality issues at the UW.
“Non-discrimination is a vital issue in the European Charter of Researchers. Universities are bound to comply with the Charter and treat their employees equally irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation,” Prof. Julia Kubisa, Chairwoman of the UW Working Group for the Implementation of the European Charter of Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, said.
“The strategy of the HR Excellence in Research places a considerable emphasis on gender equality. Universities that are committed to the principles set in the European Charter of Researchers indicate a need for integrated actions to reinforce equality in scientific careers as well as gender balance in decision-making processes and bodies. The actions proceed with recruitment procedures, then cover consecutive stages of professional career with respect to quality and qualifications criteria,” Anna Grędzińska, Equal Opportunity Chief Specialist at the UW, added.
Since 2017 the University of Warsaw has been developing a number of actions and policies due to the non-discrimination principles of the European Charter of Researchers.
The Gender Equality Plan at the UW
In 2020, as the first national university, the University of Warsaw adopted the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) as an action strategy for the years of 2020–2023.
“The main objective of the plan is to ensure that the University of Warsaw is a safe place for everyone, and functions with respect to equality and diversity, is free from discrimination, and ensures academic progress for all. The GEP provides an institutional and procedural framework, highlights equality and non-discrimination priority areas and those responsible for them,” Julia Kubisa explained.
The plan is based on the thorough consultations, experiences and needs of the university community. In the upcoming years another series of surveys is planned to provide feedback on needs and gaps, as well as to contribute to a new edition of the Gender Equality Plan at the UW.
Activities in the area of equal treatment, increasing knowledge and awareness in the field of antidiscrimination
“The UW launched the website www.rownowazni.uw.edu.pl with information about university support, equality counselling, antidiscrimination publishing, as well as corresponding courses and trainings,” Anna Grędzińska said.
“In October 2019, the UW started the campaign called “We are all equal”. The action presents the university as a diverse academic community and a place that is free from any forms of discrimination,” Julia Kubisa explained. The “We are all equal” campaign consists of a set of posters and social media activities. Materials also appeared on the university website and social media. Members of the UW community, representing groups particularly at the risk of discrimination and unequal treatment, were featured in a video. The video, with students, employees and graduates of the UW, was one of the meaningful campaign elements.
The campaign is part of the activities implementing the European Charter for Researchers and the HR Excellence in Research strategy at the UW. The strategy includes the implementation of activities in the area of equal treatment and increasing knowledge and awareness in the field of antidiscrimination, e.g.:
- guidebooks: “Anti-Discrimination Guidebook for students and employees of the University of Warsaw”, “Guide to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the University of Warsaw”, “Rekomendacje dotyczące języka niedyskryminującego na Uniwersytecie Warsawskim” (in Polish), information materials for students;
- antidiscrimination and equality courses and trainings, including an online course “Equality for students and employees” with over 4,000 participants, “Sexual harassment prevention at university” – a new course available in the 2022/2023 academic year;
- faculty plenipotentiaries for equality.
- setting non-discrimination procedures monitored by the Rector’s Commission for the Prevention of Discrimination:
Support for the UW employees and students with children
“The University of Warsaw facilitates and promotes simultaneous professional careers and parenthood by child care facilities such as a university nursery and preschool, children’s playroom, useful information in the section “Parenthood” on the website of the Human Resources Office, grant courses and project focused on young parents’ needs,” Anna Grędzinska explained.
The plans also include a further development of the child care facilities (university kindergarten, playrooms for children), a survey of the parents’ expectations and needs from the university, maintaining balance between work and family and/or private life, as well as promotion and dissemination of parenthood issues at the UW.
Support for women in their scientific career development and decision-making processes
“The actions we undertake are concentrated on the sustainable gender equality in decision-making bodies and fair access to science and associated entitlements in order to exploit the full potential of the UW employees,” Anna Grędzinska said.
Women’s career development support actions:
- collecting and publishing the equality data, as well as their regular monitoring;
- networking group for female doctoral candidates – details on the “We are all equal” webpage (only in Polish) >>
- young female researchers mentoring;
- collecting and disseminating the good practices that are in favour of women’s scientific career development.
The planned actions also include recommendations about gender equality in expert and decision-making bodies, as well as scientific events at the UW.