Towards Equality in a Planned Way

Working together towards becoming a more equal organization. Last year, the board of Maailmanvaihto created an equality plan as a means to support this work.

“We established an equality plan since we wanted the equality work to be ambitious and constantly developing. We need to examine current activities critically and consider who are excluded and why”, explains Anna Lemström, equality representative of Maailmanvaihto’s board at the time of making the plan.

The plan outlines the issues that should be addressed and with what types of aims and procedures. At its core, it urges to examine more broadly how people of Maailmanvaihto perceive the issues related to equality within the organization. A similar kind of survey had not been done previously. The survey was carried out at the end of last year and you can read about the results on pages 16–18 of this issue.

In addition, the plan encourages to pay attention especially to 1) building safer spaces and addressing diversity, 2) addressing the need for special support and improving accessibility, and 3) preventing sexual harassment and discrimination and offering support in possible harassment and discrimination cases. “With the help of these few focus areas, the aim was to create a plan that is genuinely executable. The idea was to introduce new topics when updating the plan”, says Anna.

It was written into the plan that it will be updated annually, if necessary. No updating has been undertaken yet. “After having delved into the specific goals we understood how diverse the various questions of equality actually are and how much groundwork is required. It is important that we carefully consider the selected focus areas before moving forward”, says Roosa Kontiokari, the chair of the board. “The aim is to overview the plan critically and update it according to what we learn.”

Find more information about the plan: https://maailmanvaihto.fi/en/equality-plan

Information about accessibility and principles for safer spaces

What steps have been taken by Maailmanvaihto to implement the focus areas of the equality plan? Here are six points:

  1. The principles for safer space were developed and referring to them in the context of trainings and events was introduced. The principles are currently being translated into English.
  2. In terms of selecting the event venues that are open for everyone, greater emphasis was placed on accessibility as a selection criteria, and information related to the accessibility of events was added to event invitations.
  3. Information about the possibility to receive youth with sensory or physical disabilities to workplaces was added to the descriptions of voluntary workplaces in Finland. The descriptions of voluntary workplaces for ICYE volunteers were completed whereas the descriptions of voluntary workplaces for ESC volunteers are still in progress.
  4. Into the training for young people heading abroad for volunteering was added information on the varying attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities in different countries.
  5. Into the training was also added the subject of sexual harassment and discrimination as well as ways to report about them and get support.
  6. In its electric communication work – in the social media posts and on the website, for instance – Maailanvaihto begun to avoid gender-specific personal pronouns whenever the gender is not know and whenever it is not essential to bring forward the gender.

Text: Minna Räisänen

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