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Gender equality a quality issue

This is your new, well fairly new, JMLA blogging. What JMLA is? It’s the person responsible for Gender Equality – Diversity – Equal treatment issues at ITM. I took on this role after Sofia Ritzén since I feel very strongly for these issues, especially gender equality.

The JML work at KTH is led by Anna Wahl, who brings together all the schools’ JLMAs. She organizes and develops the work at a KTH level. At the ITM school, we have a newly established JML group, led by me, consisting of all the head of the departments, the administrative head, GA, and JMLA’s partner from HR, a role that Helena Lundqvist very pleasantly has taken on. We will meet regularly to plan activities and lead the work on these issues at ITM.

There will be JML-groups at each department, some are already established, to work with more specific department related issues. These groups will interact across the departments and have contact with JMLA. That was just a brief description how we intend to organize the work.

What else has been done? Everyone with a management position has during the fall taken a course on gender equality led by Näringslivets Ledarskapsakademi. Here we have learnt a lot about equal treatment, we have had interesting discussions and given time to reflect on these issues.  Many of you have attended workshops at the departments that was a part of this course. How to proceed this work was discussed at ITM’s annual leadership conference January 16th to 17th at Såstaholm. “What can I, as a manager at ITM, do to improve gender equality at ITM?” It resulted in a long list of useful ideas, at school level as well as at the department level. However (and this is important), this is a joint effort – no one is responsible for improving every single task on the list, but we are all good at something and together we can make a change. Gender equality is a prioritized area at KTH and mainstreaming is our government’s main strategy to reach gender quality. So working with gender equality is actually not a choice, and last but not least: it is a quality issue.

Last, I would like to share some reflections from the ITM’s annual leadership conference where Christer Olsson gave a very inspiring lecture on leadership. He said that gender equality is not a numerology but a feeling. I think it’s important to keep that in mind. The number is indeed very important, but we must not hide behind activities to improve the numbers. We must also improve the working environment so that everyone feels included, especially women. It is important that we can convey the feeling of being excluded to those who have not experienced it. We need to collect and share stories to reflect on. I would also like to point out that equality work is not at all just a benefit for women. Many men are also affected by the non-inclusive structure that many times prevail at KTH.

And further on we will also focus on the M and the L.