Karelia UAS Gender Equality and Equity Plan 2022-2024


1 Introduction

Discussed in the Cooperation and Health and Safety Committee 16.12.2021. Approved by President Petri Raivo

Updated 25.10.2023

Karelia UAS respects the human dignity of everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, religion, origin, opinions or other personal characteristics. The purpose of this Equality and Equal Opportunities Plan is to promote the fulfilment of the legal obligations and to support the entire higher education community in promoting equality and equal opportunities and preventing discrimination.

Legislation governing the plan

Equality of persons is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 6 of the Finnish Constitution (731/1999), the core of which is the prohibition of placing people in unequal positions on the basis of personal characteristics without justifiable cause. The promotion of equality is regulated in more detail in the Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986) and the Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014). These laws require employers and educational institutions to have an equality and equal opportunities plan. The plan must include an inventory of the current situation, the actions planned to promote equality and non-discrimination and an assessment of the implementation of measures under previous plans. 

In the development of the Karelia UAS Gender Equality and Equality Plan, attention was also paid to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to ensure human rights, human well-being and the stability of societies in a sustainable way from an environmental perspective. The plan refers to these goals by presenting a relevant icon. The SDGs can be found online.

Equality and non-discrimination are taken into account in all the activities of Karelia UAS. The UAS is a safe, caring, respectful, communal and accessible working and studying environment, where every person is valued as an individual. The UAS encourages students and staff to engage in respectful and constructive dialogue between life-view values.

Gender Equality Plans (GEP)

Programmes funded by the EU Commission must aim to tackle gender inequalities, improve work-life balance and promote equality between women and men in research and innovation. The relevant and recommended areas of the GEPs are illustrated in the graphs below. These issues have been taken into account in this Equality and Equity Plan. 

Description of the planning process

The first gender equality plan for Karelia UAS was made for the period 2009-2011. The Equality Plan was combined with the Non-Discrimination Plan and at the same time the Karelia Ethical Principles 2013-2015 were created. The plan has been reviewed and updated for 2016-2018 and 2019-2021.

An update of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan for 2022-2023 was carried out at the end of 2021. Jaana Tolkki, Human Resources Manager, Hanna Utriainen, HR Specialist, and Atte Korte, Chief Shop Steward of the OAJ, were responsible for the preparation of the plan. The mapping of the current situation presented in the plan is based on the equality and non-discrimination survey conducted with staff in autumn 2021. In addition, the student union POKA conducted a corresponding survey for students. The plan was discussed by the UAS Cooperation and Health and Safety Committee in December 2021.

Karelia UAS also has other plans and programmes that support the implementation of equality and equal opportunities. The Age and Work Capability Programme aims to promote the maintenance of staff’s work capacity and the development of skills at different stages of their careers. The well-being at work programme describes how the UAS considers and supports the well-being at work of its staff. The active concern model is a tool for identifying, discussing and resolving various challenging situations in the workplace. The model also includes guidelines for reporting inappropriate behaviour and harassment.

2 Mapping the equality and equity situation

Measures taken in the past 

Karelia UAS’s previous equality and non-discrimination plans have included numerous actions to promote equality and non-discrimination, many of which have become an integral part of the UAS’s normal activities. 

Karelia UAS has been declared a discrimination-free area in 2011, and since then non-discrimination has been a core value guiding its activities. Equality and non-discrimination are taken into account in all activities and the ethical principles of the UAS are highlighted, for example, in staff induction. The model of active concern includes tools to address discrimination and harassment for both staff and students.

Many measures have been taken to promote equality at the UAS. The needs of people from different cultures have been identified. For example, both campuses have quiet spaces suitable for activities of one’s own religious beliefs.  The internationalisation of students and staff has been taken into account, for example by making services and guidance available in English.

Accessibility has been taken into account in the design of the facilities and both campuses are accessible. Karelia has also taken into consideration the needs of different learners. The Student Welfare Officer is responsible for the special support guidelines, which have been developed for the Pakki student portal and intranet. 

The balancing of work and family life is supported in Karelia UAS in many different ways. Those returning to work from extended leave are given an induction and work arrangements are agreed with them to ensure a smooth return to work. 

When appointing the working teams of the UAS, equal participation of women and men has been taken into account. Both women and men are selected for job interviews whenever there are candidates of both sexes. In the internal recruitment process, everyone has an equal opportunity to apply for a post. In the case of equally qualified candidates, a positive discrimination procedure may be considered in recruitment where one sex is clearly under-represented.

Staff are paid in accordance with the collective agreement. The demanding nature of the work is assessed on the basis of criteria drawn up in consultation with the collective agreement and the shop stewards. The differences in pay are explained by the experience and TVA bonuses provided for in the collective agreement. Staff training and career progression is regularly monitored by means of career development discussions 

Equality and equal opportunities survey for staff and students


Karelia’s staff have been asked about equality and equal opportunities using the same questionnaire in 2011 (152 respondents), 2016 (67 respondents), 2018 (66 respondents) and most recently in 2021 (71 respondents). In 2021, the response rate was 22% of the staff. As the response rate was low, the results are approximate.

The surveys have been used to gather information on employees’ experiences of equality in their workplace. The questionnaires asked employees to rate the implementation of equality and equity on a five-point scale in the areas listed. [SL5] 

According to the survey, Karelia’s work community is fairly or very well organised in terms of:

  • gender equality
  • best in the selection of staff, worst in career development and pay
  • equality between employees of different ages
  • best in social interaction and worst in career development
  • equal treatment of people in different employment relationships
  • best in terms of social interaction and worst in terms of training and learning opportunities
  • equality for minorities
  • best in social interaction and pay, worst in the selection of managers and supervisors

One part of the survey was to find out how Karelia’s staff can balance their work with caring for loved ones, relationships, friends, studies, hobbies or second jobs. The question was asked with the options that challenges are experienced on an annual, monthly or weekly basis. The most common challenge is to balance work and leisure activities, also on a weekly basis. A few times a year, it is perceived as difficult to balance work with relationship time and time with friends. However, the majority of respondents felt that this was not the case for me or that there were never difficulties in balancing work and family life.

Work pressure is seen as the biggest challenge in reconciling work and private life. Other reasons included problems with work scheduling, large workloads and the timing of work. Solutions were suggested to improve work planning to better distribute the workload over the academic year and the working day.

The majority of respondents have not experienced or been subject to discrimination. Those who have experienced discrimination report that they have been discriminated against mainly by a colleague, but also by their supervisor and management. Discrimination has been experienced in the distribution of tasks and in the appreciation of work. 

According to the survey, some sexual harassment has been observed in Karelia. Sexual harassment is perceived to include ambiguous and sub-stylish language and unwanted remarks about the body and sexuality. Sexual harassment is mainly experienced by a colleague. Some harassment based on gender or other personal characteristics was found in the survey.

According to the survey, equality between people of different ages and equality for minorities are considered to be the most important areas for improvement. Attention was requested to be paid to the distribution and planning of work and to equal pay. The need to take into account the internationalisation of the Karelia community was mentioned by several respondents. The second-most importantly, the environment should support staff and students from different cultures. All information, communication and documents should also be in English.


The Karelia UAS student union POKA conducted in 2021 a gender equality and equality survey for Karelia UAS students, based on the survey conducted for the Karelia staff. The survey was answered by 232 students, which was just under 7% of the Karelia students in attendance. The respondents were from a wide range of educational backgrounds. The largest number of respondents (50) was from the social sciences, the second largest from business (34) and the third largest from nursing (21). The previous survey of students was carried out in 2018, with 15 respondents. 

The majority of respondents to the student survey felt that Karelia is doing a fairly or very good job in 

– gender equality

– equality between students of different ages

– equality for minorities  

The majority of Karelia UAS students have not experienced or been subjected to discrimination in the last two years. Respondents who had observed or experienced discrimination assume that discrimination is caused by the diversity of people or people’s inability to accept and work with different people. Discrimination was mainly observed or experienced by students from the same student group. Some respondents had observed or experienced discrimination from other students or teachers.

According to the survey, the majority of students who responded to the questionnaire had not experienced or perceived sexual harassment in Karelia. The majority of students who had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment responded that it was ambiguous or sub-standard language. The majority had responded that sexual harassment had been observed or experienced by someone other than their own group or by a student from their own group. Just under a third of respondents had observed or experienced inappropriate language and the majority had responded that the inappropriate language was related to personal characteristics. Inappropriate language has also been related to origin and gender.

Students’ open responses indicated that equality and equity could be promoted by integrating the themes into studies, Karelia’s communication and theme weeks. The responses indicated that it would be important to stimulate debate on what is and is not acceptable behaviour towards others. It was felt that discussion would raise awareness and thus also prevent unconscious discrimination.

3 Measures

The aim of Karelia UAS is that the whole working and studying environment should be open and respectful of other people. The UAS values the principle of equality between different people and respect for people. Leadership is based on an open, equal and coaching management culture. Emphasising gender diversity and changing discriminatory attitudes is an important part of promoting equality. 

1. Promoting equality and equity in Karelia is something we all share.

  • Our immediate supervisors take into account the promotion of equality and equity.
  • Everyone in the Karelia community ensures that the atmosphere is accepting, open and tolerant.
  • In human resources planning and management, our supervisors pay attention to the fairness of work assignments and working hours.
  • In the training of supervisors, we develop awareness of equality and equity.
  • We will include equality and equity as an element of our management development programme.
  • We all have a responsibility to address and report on gender and equality related grievances such as harassment. 
  • We operate an active concern model and, where appropriate, we use a harassment reporting form
  • We will identify potential equality and non-discrimination concerns and take corrective action where necessary.
  • We regularly monitor this through staff feedback, student feedback, work-life feedback and self-assessments of training and management.
  • We will establish an Equality and Equal Opportunities Officer position, for which there will be an internal open call for applications in Karelia.   

2. In Karelia, we are an age and family-friendly community that takes into account the diversity of family forms

  • We support people of different ages and family situations through flexible working time arrangements, such as flexible working hours and the possibility of part-time work and unpaid leave such as shift work.  
  •  We enable flexible and self-directed working through Karelia’s multi-site working principles.
  • We welcome the use of family leave and support return to work with flexible working hours and training.
  • We are preparing for the changes brought about by the family leave reform, for example by training our HR staff.
  • We support the development of staff’s skills at different stages of their careers, for example through career coaching, job rotation, work experience periods and mentoring.
    • We support older people’s ability to work through various arrangements such as senior holidays and retirement coaching.
    • We will transform the age and work capability programme into a career programme to better support an age and family-friendly culture. 

3. At Karelia, recruitment, remuneration and career development are transparent and responsible

  • Through the strategic human resources plan, we anticipate future recruitment needs and ensure a sufficient supply of skilled staff.
    • Our recruitment guidelines are written in our strategic HR plan, which is available to staff on the intranet. The recruitment guidelines include instructions on gender equality and equal opportunities.
    • We all have the opportunity to participate in internal and external application processes.
    • Our pay is in line with the collective agreement and there are no unjustified differences in pay.
      • Karelia’s pay scales are openly available to staff on the intranet
      • Karelia Vipunen, which provides near real-time information on the operational results of the UAS, is available to all staff in the Karelia Intranet. We are developing Karelia Vipunen so that average salary data and staff job titles are available to all
    • We support staff in creating their own career paths through career development discussions
      • We are building a succession planning system that will enable horizontal career paths in particular.
    • In staff training and induction, we increase knowledge about sustainability and responsibility. 

4. At Karelia, we treat students fairly and respect equality and non-discrimination in the learning environment.

  • Our learning environment is equal and equitable, and discriminatory practices, for example, are not tolerated.
    • We offer a wide range of training options in different fields
    •  for people in different life situations.
    • Our teaching and learning environment enables learning and qualifications on an equal basis for all students.
      • Our campuses are accessible.
      • We pay particular attention to barriers to learning and make special arrangements to support students in need of special support.
    • For students, we offer a wide range of guidance and support services such as the services of a student welfare officer and a pastor. 
    • We have made it possible for students to provide feedback and influence, for example through OPALA feedback and Karelia-POKA cooperation meetings.

4 Monitoring the implementation

Karelia UAS conducts an annual staff survey (HEPALA) and student feedback survey (OPALA), which also survey respondents’ views on equality and equity issues. The results of the survey are discussed in the management group, the cooperation and occupational health and safety committee, the well-being at work group and the Board of the UAS. 

The Equality and Equal Opportunities Officer is responsible for monitoring the development of the equality and equal opportunities situation in the UAS. Every employee and student has the opportunity to report any concerns to the Equality and Equal Opportunities Officer.

Gender distribution at Karelia
Typical job titles, permanent, 2021FemaleMale
Head of education73
Senior lecturer67
Student services coordinator50
Prjoject specialist44
Data expert41
Project manager14
Financial administration specialist40
Typical job titles, temporary,2021 FemaleMale
Part-time teacher199
Project coordinatori70
Project specialist35
Project manager34
Project planner03
Immediate supervisor 2021127
Pay analysis of men and women,  2021
  Average total income/monthFemaleMaleDifference
Senior lecturer592960342 %
Lecturer4664519710 %
Teacher4123473313 %
  Average total income/monthFemaleMaleDifference
Upper management, immediate supervisors and administration managers618064574 %
Administration and support services staff347732058 %
Project personnel incl. Project managers 3592398310 %
Family leaves 2021Juridical gender 
Child-care leave2580
Paternity leave0116
Parental leave1900
Maternity leave180
Temporary nursing leave544
  Gender of priority applicants to Karelia in 2020 by application targetsmalefemaleno informationTotal
Karelia-UAS7861 1101322028
Bachelor of Business Administration, International Business, daytime studies, application period 8 – 22.1.2020151290117
Bachelor of Health Care, Physiotherapist (UAS), daytime studies991263228
Bachelor of Engineering (UAS), Energy and Environmental Engineering, daytime studies3015 45
Bachelor of Engineering (UAS), Industrial Management, daytime studies, application period 8. – 22.1.2020693651
Bachelor of Engineering (UAS), Mechanical Engineering, daytime studies483 51
Bachelor of Engineering (UAS), Civil Engineering, daytime studies456 51
Bachelor of Engineering (UAS), Building Services Engineering, daytime studies, 453 48
Master of Engineering (UAS), Forestry (Master’s Degree, UAS), Sustainable Energy Economy126 18
Master of Engineering (UAS), (Master’s Degree UAS), Technology Competence Management246 30
Bachelor of Culture and Arts (UAS), Media, daytime studies4836 84
Bachelor of Engineering in Natural Resources, Forestry (UAS), daytime studies 6318 81
Bachelor of Hospitality Management (UAS), Tourism, daytime studies1224 36
Bachelor of Health Care, Nursing (UAS), multiform studies1284 96
Bachelor of Health Care, Nursing (UAS), multiform studies, additional application1263 75
Bachelor of Health Care, Nursing (UAS), daytime studies1581399
Master of Health Care (UAS), Development and Management of Active Ageing  72 72
Master of Health Care (UAS), Development and Management of Health care and Social Services 954 63
Bachelor of Social Services (UAS)Social Services, multiform studies15141 156
Bachelor of Social Services (UAS)Social Services, daytime studies24150 174
Bachelor of Health Care (UAS), Public Health Nursing, daytime studies384 87
Bachelor of Business Administration (UAS), Business Economics, multiform studies3669 105
Bachelor of Business Administration (UAS),  Business Economics, daytime studies6648 114
Bachelor of Business Administration (UAS), Business Information Technology, daytime studies14133 174
Master of Business Administration (UAS), Business Management and Leadership1836 54

The ethical principles of staff and students of Karelia UAS

I do not accept bullying or abusing others in any form.

I do my job well and take personal responsibility for it.

I implement equality and respect difference.

I show confidence and respect towards other people’s competence, working methods and discretion.

I take responsibility for well-being at work/ in studies and for the atmosphere of working/studying environment.

I am polite and follow good manners.

I adjust my resources to my duties and express that to my superior/teachers.

I encourage others to independent thinking and support everyone’s right to an opinion.

I strive to grow as a person and a member of community alongside my professional development.