Gender Equality Plan

Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research

Gender Equality Plan 2024 – 2025

Gender equality work at the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research is based on legislation and the values of the Institute. In Minerva we promote gender equality while preventing discrimination in all of our operations. This means that all members of the Minerva community are treated with equal and non-discriminating way. Our goal is to be at the forefront of engendering an atmosphere respectful of equality and diversity as well as a healthy study and work environment.

Even though the gender equality situation in Minerva is at the moment good, the work is not yet done. Rather, we actively strive to further enhance the equality by identifying and removing practices and structures that create and sustain inequality in our Minerva community.

In the following points the different areas of concrete measures and targets on gender equality work in Minerva are covered.

1. Flexible work arrangements

Minerva facilitates the reconciliation of work and personal life in various life situations through work arrangements. This means taking employees’ life situations into account for instance when agreeing on working hours or remote work, and also having a positive and encouraging attitude towards the use of family leave.

Thus, to enhance the work-life balance the employees in Minerva are able to work flexible hours. Remote work is also supported whenever the work assignment enables it.

2. Recruiting and career development

The general grounds for employment at Minerva include merits and suitability for the role in question. These include for example educational background, work experience, research merits, additional merits useful for carrying out the duties required by the position and suitability in relation to the demands of the task.

The selection criteria highlighted in the call for applications must be transparent. Applicants are evaluated in writing against the given essential criteria in order to demonstrate that the successful applicant was hired on reasonable grounds and that no discrimination took place and to ensure transparency in the recruitment process. Particular attention is paid to the diversity of the applicants and recruiters and to the non-discriminatory nature of the recruitment.

Master students, postgraduate students or postdoc researchers apply to Minerva when available projects/positions are open in the research groups. The applications for master or postgraduate positions in the institute reflect the gender distribution of students on the university level.

As a private research institute, with only a few permanent positions, the career development at Minerva is limited, but when a position is opened the recruitment process is handled with transparence according to the criteria mentioned above.

3. The gender balance in leadership and in decision-making

In the research world women are quite often under-represented in decision-making positions. The main reasons are traditional gender roles and stereotypes, the lack of support for women and men to balance care responsibilities with work, and the prevalent research culture. However, gender equality and diversity in leadership have recognised to have beneficial effects on organisations and institutions.
Minerva is committed to the promotion of gender equality in leadership and decision-making roles. In 2023, the Minerva board of directors comprised half of women and half of men. Even though the situation is at the moment very good constant work must be made to keep up the even gender balance.

4. Harassment and inappropriate treatment

Minerva does not tolerate any harassment or inappropriate treatment. Sexual harassment is purposeful, unwanted and one-sided sexually motivated conduct or gender-based discrimination. Harassment and inappropriate treatment can take different forms, such as offensive acts or speech and may be difficult to spot, even though the person being harassed experiences it as disturbing.

Minerva has its own guidelines to promote appropriate workplace behaviour. These guidelines are disclosed to new staff and student members at the orientation training, and these guidelines are also available on the Laboratory Handbook booklet. It is important to intervene in harmful behaviour at an early stage. The employees are encouraged to inform the superior or occupational safety and health officer if experiencing or noticing any kind of harassment or inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

The best way to reduce harassment is to take preventive measures before it occurs. This can be achieved by awareness raising and trainings on gender equality and unconscious gender biases for staff and decision-makers. Therefore, Minerva organizes training courses for staff and students on gender equality whenever possible.

5. Training

The best way to increase awareness of gender equality and reduce harassment is to offer trainings for staff and decision-makers. Therefore, Minerva organizes staff training related to diversity, gender equality, unconscious bias and respecting differences in working life whenever possible.

6. Monitoring and development

To be able to follow the gender equality development in Minerva, the conditions at workplace must be monitored at regular intervals. Data is collected from the personnel and students and the results are reported and distributed to all members of the Minerva community.

In Minerva the workplace wellbeing is monitored every third year with a help of a survey. The survey is conducted in English. The last survey was carried out in 2023 and the areas covered were social interactions, individual work content and competence, working conditions, remote work, work-life balance and working with immediate supervisors.

The results of the workplace wellbeing surveys are taken into consideration and measures of improvement are taken when needed.

7. Dedicated resources

Minerva is committed to allocate resources to improve the awareness of gender equality and the use of gender expertise.

Helsinki, 11 December 2023

Vesa Olkkonen
Director of the Institute

Cia Olsson
Laboratory Manager