Policy for Gender Equality and Diversity

NTNU's policy for gender equality and diversity for the period 2018-2022.

Norsk versjon - Politikk for likestilling og mangfold

For your information: The work on a new policy is ongoing and will be completed by the end of 2022. The current policy will therefore be valid until 2022.

Policy and action plan

The policy and action plan on gender equality and diversity at NTNU are closely linked with NTNU’s mission and vision of “Knowledge for a better world”. Knowledge for a better world is best created in an organization with equal opportunity, diversity and gender balance. Promoting equality and tolerance regardless of philosophy of life, culture or gender is also a prerequisite for NTNU’s values – creative, critical, constructive and respectful. Consideration and respect must characterize interaction between staff and students. 

Responsibility for an inclusive and diverse culture at work and throughout the organization ultimately rests with NTNU’s managers at all levels, who are responsible for ensuring active and conscious initiatives to create a university with greater gender equality and diversity. In this context, leadership includes being a good role model for positive and appropriate behaviour. 

All employees at NTNU must have a fully justifiable work environment. Bullying and harassment must not occur at NTNU. Each individual has a duty to ensure that his or her behaviour is based on respect for colleagues and work partners, regardless of gender, cultural background, ethnicity, or other characteristics. Everyone is asked to speak up if they see others being subjected to harassment or similar behaviour.

In this context, see NTNU’s policy on harassment, improper conduct and harsh personal conflicts, approved on 4 May 2012. Managers at all levels have a responsibility to follow up if they become of aware of cases of bullying or harassment. 

Diversity included in the policy and action plan

This is the first time that NTNU has a policy and action plan for gender equality that includes a perspective on diversity. The concept of diversity is broad. In NTNU’s action plan, however, we have chosen to focus on international employees, with a link to NTNU’s strategy for the period 2018-2025.

NTNU must contribute actively to gender equality and diversity in its own activities, as well as in working life in general. NTNU’s adjustment agreement for Hovedavtalen i staten [the Basic Agreement for the civil service] has provisions specifying how employee organizations and employers must work together for gender equality and diversity.  

NTNU wants greater openness and knowledge about challenges in promoting gender equality, gender balance and diversity, and wants to include students and employees regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual identity, ethnicity, skin colour, national origin, cultural and religious background, functional capacity or age.

NTNU is a broad-based university, with a technological and scientific main profile. It is vital to think about gender equality and diversity in the efforts to ensure breadth in aspects other than academic background, such as gender, ethnicity, functional capacity, age, religion, or sexual orientation.

Inclusive work and organizational culture

NTNU’s goal is an inclusive work and organizational culture, characterized and created by the experience of both individuals and groups that they fit in, feel welcome, and receive confirmation of their own efforts. This includes factors such as conscious language use, a focus on clarity, and the use of language and communication channels that include all employees. The aim is to prevent alienation, insufficient skills development, and lack of influence over one’s own work situation. 

Research on recruitment processes challenges the notion that assessments of qualifications in the recruitment process are always gender neutral. Studies show that both women and men unconsciously underestimate women and overestimate men.  Unbalanced selection processes contribute to homogeneous environments and cement existing biases at NTNU. Knowledge and awareness of unconscious preconceptions of gender are very important in the appointment process to avoid loss of talented candidates. 

The policy for gender equality and diversity must be integrated in all aspects of NTNU’s activities and applies to all employees, regardless of position. 

Status, women and men in positions

The proportion of women in professorships at NTNU is 24% and thus below the national average of 27%. The proportion of women in professorships has remained virtually unchanged for the last three years, and did not change as a result of the merger. 

The trend toward improvement in gender balance in tenured academic positions shows large variations between departments. It is not enough to look at aggregated figures. Gender equality must be mapped and made visible locally at each faculty and department and in academic groups, as well as on our campuses. Participatory research from NTNU’s BALANSE project shows that the departments that take active initiatives to improve gender balance have greater and faster progress than those that do not. There is great potential for improvement here .   

Graphics showing percentage of women and men in academic positions. Graphic.

Percentage of women and men in academic positions, NTNU in total and main profile (Faculty of Engineering (IV)-Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE)-Faculty of Natural Sciences (NV)-Faculty of Architecture and Design (AD)) Source: Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH)

The figure above shows a lack of gender balance in all the job categories from PhD candidate to professor. NTNU’s greatest challenge in improving gender balance is in positions within the main profile (Faculty of Engineering (IV), Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE), Faculty of Natural Sciences (NV)). Here, 71% of PhD candidates are men, while only 29% are women. Among professors, 85% are men. The career path for women and men takes different directions from PhD candidate to professorship. The percentage of men tends to increase, while the proportion of women in equivalent positions is falling. We can change this by carrying out the steps in the action plan. 

For the broader concept of diversity, which includes factors other than gender, we do not have a sound basis of data to provide a status. For this reason, the action plan addresses the need for greater knowledge about diversity in our own organization and about any challenges related to integration and the like. 

NTNU’s action plan for gender equality and diversity 2018 – 2021

NTNU considers it important to give priority to specific areas to ensure adequate focus and commitment in the action plan period. We have chosen to focus on gender balance and integration of international employees. Gender is a diverse category, but in this action plan the term “gender” refers to the categories men and women. 

The action plan is divided into overall areas of focus with corresponding action points.

Improved gender balance in programmes of study

NTNU aims to be an attractive university in which both genders have equal opportunities. Gender balance between women and men in all areas of study must actively be improved. NTNU must work to increase recruitment of women to disciplines in which women are under-represented and, correspondingly,  recruitment of men to disciplines in which men are under-represented. 

Actions during the period:

• All programmes of study with a gender imbalance (less than 40% of the under-represented gender) must carry out actions to improve gender balance. 
• NTNU will continue using gender points to recruit the under-represented gender to study programmes with gender imbalance. This point must be seen in the light of the Board’s decision in S-sak 5/15 in which "the Board recommends that gender points be considered when the proportion of the under-represented gender in working life is below 30 per cent. The Board also recommends that gender points not be used when the proportion of the under-represented gender among attending students has been 40 per cent or more during the past three years".  
• NTNU must work together with the student organizations towards inclusive and diverse student life.    
• NTNU must ensure that students are familiar with the procedures for reporting discrimination. 

Gender balance in recruitment to and in career development in top-level academic positions and managerial positions

Strengthening the proportion of women in scientific doctoral positions and managerial positions is the most important goal for fulfilling the vision of a university with gender equality. It is important to emphasize that increasing the proportion of women in scientific doctoral positions must be seen in the context of recruitment to study programmes, which is where the foundation is laid.

Actions during the period:

• Graduates of the under-represented gender among students should be motivated at an early stage to seek academic positions.
• Departments and units with an under-represented gender should use a “talent search committee” to find female applicants before positions are advertised. 
• NTNU should use appointment without preceding advertisement (direct appointment) or moderate gender quotas where this is possible and regarded as suitable.
• The Rector will offer a range of initiatives that ensure equal opportunities for career development, regardless of gender and life situation. These may include qualification fellowships, participation in mentoring programmes and start packages.
• There should be a basis for a sound balance between career and family life, and each manager must make adjustments within agreed working hours for employees in different life situations, such as a temporary reduction in the proportion of teaching, to ensure equal opportunities, for example for promotion. This must be a natural element in the employee development and appraisal interview with each individual.
• A pilot scheme will be established for the period of this plan with a “getting back to work” grant for PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows who have had parental leave for a continuous period of more than six months. This grant is in the form of a one-month extension of the employment contract.

Better integration of international employees

To fulfil its social mission and its vision of knowledge for a better world, NTNU needs diversity in experience, knowledge and perspectives to achieve quality and relevance in research and education. Here, NTNU has an important resource in its international employees. 

At NTNU, 90 nationalities work together. The report “Å være utlending er ingen fordel (Being a foreigner is no advantage)” reveals visible and invisible processes that contribute to exclusion of employees with an immigrant background. To enable better use of this inherent potential, it is important to strengthen and develop both recruitment and integration of international employees.

NTNU’s goal of becoming an internationally outstanding university requires us to make active efforts not only to seek expertise internationally but also to integrate and develop these employees in a way that realizes their potential in the best possible way. 

Actions during the period: 

• In 2018-2019, NTNU will conduct a study on inclusion and diversity at the university, with the aim of increasing knowledge and skill on this topic. The aim of the study is to improve understanding of the situation and identify challenges. 
• Based on the findings made, initiatives will be launched to strengthen inclusion and integration efforts effectively where the study shows a need for this.
• NTNU will work together with other actors for inclusion of refugees with an academic background. 

Gender equality and diversity in leadership and governance

For NTNU to achieve its goal of gender equality and diversity, competent management as well as wise and committed leaders in all parts of the organization are essential. It is important to address gender equality and diversity during recruitment of managers, and that this becomes a natural part of management training at NTNU.

Leaders should be measured by the way they contribute to gender equality and diversity. Because gender balance varies significantly between departments and often even more between academic groups, it is important to focus attention on these levels.  

Actions during the period:

• Creating a basis for gender equality and diversity in day-to-day activities is a management responsibility. 
• The Rector must report annually to the Board of NTNU on the status and actions taken to promote a more balanced and diverse university. This means, among other things, that NTNU must develop better statistics and analyses of gender balance and diversity.  Faculties and departments must therefore be able to provide information on status and plans for gender equality and diversity at all levels.  
• Job advertisements and the appointment process for new managers throughout the organization must reflect the need for competence in gender equality and diversity issues. 
• The perspective of gender equality and diversity must be integrated in NTNU’s initiatives for management development and training. 

Equal opportunities for career development for employees in technical and administrative positions 

Academic activity is NTNU’s core business. However, NTNU would not function without technical and administrative services to support its core activities.

The same gender imbalance seen in academic grade codes also exists among technical and administrative employees. Among other things, we see that the proportion of women is consistently lower at senior management levels (Report from the Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH): Number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) (% women) for the period 2013-2017), and that this situation has remained constant over time. It is natural to think that one of the reasons for this may be gender-linked differences in opportunities for career development.

PS: It should be noted that the report only shows the percentages of full-time equivalent staff. The number of employees in the various categories and the number of employees in part-time positions might cause some variations. However, the overview shows a clear trend. 

NTNU wants all employees to have equal opportunities for career development regardless of gender, and thus also to create a basis for gender balance at all levels within technical and administrative positions. Gender imbalance may also be due to other factors, and it is therefore important to identify the reasons for this.

Actions during the period:

• Management groups at all levels at NTNU must focus on identifying the reasons for any gender imbalance in technical and administrative positions, and consider possible measures.
• In the strategic staffing plans and in the individual recruitment process, balance in terms of gender and diversity must be emphasized. 
• It is essential to create the basis for a good balance between a career and family life. 
• Each manager must make adjustments within agreed working hours to enable employees in different life situations to develop their expertise in both breadth and depth.

This page's revision history

The content on this page origins from the Norwegian version of NTNU's policy for Gender Equality and Diversity 2018-2021 (PDF)

Minor changes have been made in the content in the document due to standards for web content:

  • Two additional headings have been early in the text added to improve readability.
  • Shortened the length of headings. Phrases such as "A sharper focus on (...)" have been excluded due to standards for readability on web.
  • Divided the content in more paragraphs compared to the original document due to readability reasons.
  • Content hidden in footnotes has been implemented in context on the page.

For full revision history, please navigate to the top meny at this page and click Details, then History.

The Editorial Staff, Communication Division, 7 February 2018.

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