Encouraging gender equality activities at the grassroots level across the university (FI)

Between 2002 and 2011, the University of Helsinki (Finland) made funding available for small-scale gender equality projects across the university. The funding increased grass-roots engagement in gender equality work, helped to identify and address the specific problems and needs of different faculties and departments, and created permanent networks and good practices. Over the course of 10 years, gender equality projects were implemented at all levels: in faculties, departments and units. A broad range of disciplines from almost all faculties was represented, including gender studies, veterinary medicine, theology, mathematics, political sciences, law, educational science, biosciences and physics. In most cases, the initiative came from staff or students, and the project was planned together with the leadership. The projects included gender equality trainings, initiatives to integrate a gender dimension into teaching content in different disciplines, and gender impact assessments of on-going reforms. Several faculties and departments conducted in-depth studies to assess their respective gender equality situations and identify ways to improve it. Hands-on gender equality projects in male-dominated disciplines, such as mathematics and physics, took steps to improve the position of women students and researchers. In some cases, follow-up funding to make use of the knowledge and tools developed in previous projects was applied and granted. The results of the projects were presented to the whole university in annual gender equality seminars that provided visibility and a possibility to exchange experiences. The concrete results (e.g. studies, tools, reports) were made available in the intranet of the university as good practice to be learnt from and made use of.