Teet Raik

University of Tartu recognised again with "Respecting differences" quality label

On 29 May, the Estonian Human Rights Centre presented the "Respecting differences" label to the University of Tartu for the second time at the joint building of ministries in Tallinn.

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The label was accepted by Anneliis Kilk and Helin Jaakma. Photo: Teet Raik (author: Teet Raik)

"Respecting differences" is a label for employers who value equal treatment and an inclusive organisational culture, and whose work in diversity management sets an example to others. Getting the label is a recognition and development opportunity for the employer. It demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to supporting diversity and thereby creating a better work environment and society.

The university was awarded the label, which is valid for two years, for the first time in 2022. This year, the university applied for renewal of the label. This required a detailed diversity plan for the next two years and an in-depth analysis of previous years' activities. The expert panel that assessed the plan gave the university a very good rating.

According to Helin Jaakma, Legal Adviser in Personnel Matters and Contracts, the University of Tartu is undoubtedly diverse with its large membership, which is certainly one of its greatest assets, but is also challenging. "We are proud that in the last two years we have been able to achieve several important goals: we were the first higher education institution in Estonia to set up a network of equal treatment support persons, and we completed two major analyses on the gender pay gap and time use of academic staff. Over the next couple of years, we will focus more on well-being at work. We are also trying to find solutions to improve the gender balance in governance bodies and to be even more supportive to students and staff with special needs. At the same time, we would like university leaders to be more involved in these activities," Jaakma said.

The "Respecting differences" label has been issued since 2018 by the Estonian Human Rights Centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. It is open to all Estonian companies, public sector bodies and NGOs that value their employees and recognise and respect their special needs.

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