Experience of the Vilnius University in promoting diversity and equal opportunities
In 2017, the strategy Open University for People with Disabilities has been approved in the Senate of Vilnius University. The main goal of it was to provide a systematic approach towards the creation of equal opportunities for studying and working for people with disabilities. Since then, great achievements have been made in this field.
The strategic project Openness for Equality and Diversity (for students and academic staff) has been introduced together with the new Vilnius University strategic plan for 2018-2020. The main goal of this strategic project, dedicated to equality issues, is to guarantee equal opportunities for University students and staff, regardless of their gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnical background, religion, etc. This goal will be achieved by creating a strategy and the implementation plan regarding this matter, and of course by actually implementing all intended activities.
First of all, the analysis of diversity and equal opportunities has been carried out. It is worth mentioning that this kind of analysis has been performed for the first time in the history of Vilnius University. National legislation, internal University regulations and policies, regarding guaranteeing equal opportunities has been analysed. In addition, data about all discrimination backgrounds – age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, ethnical background, religion, social status, etc. – has been collected and taken into account. The conclusions drawn from this analysis became the initial guidelines for the activities to be implemented under the Vilnius University Diversity and Equal Opportunities Strategy for 2020-2025.
Special attention for creating equal opportunities based on this strategy will be devoted for the areas of gender equality, disability, different cultures and social status, along with creating family-friendly and non-discriminatory systems for all member of Vilnius University community. Hereby, the implementation of Gender Equality Plans, which will be created under the project SPEAR, will foster tangible and qualitative change in the field of gender equality.
Vilnius University Diversity and Equal Opportunities Strategy 2020-2025 is currently under development. Therefore, the strategy will be introduced to the community of Vilnius University and broader society in November 2019, after it is approved by the Senate of the University.