Category Archives: Equal Opportunities

Attending Conferences and Bringing Kids Along

I have four kids, and I have frequently attended conferences when they have come along. Perhaps it is not always optional to bring them, but the alternative would be to stay at home – and I don’t want that. Then I think it is better for me to go and try to balance work-life as good as I can and I adapt the trip to the kid so that they get a nice experience too.

When my youngest son was one years old he had been to many countries (nine?), and one result from us travelling so much with him is that he speaks OK English at the age of six. This is many years before he starts English at school.

The picture below is from Gothenburg and ICSE 2018 where I did a key note, and my husband attended one of the workshops on computer science education. We also met our very good colleague Tony Clear who helped Sixten try the conference T-shirt.

Tony and Sixten

Some tips for making it work to bring kids: 

  • Perhaps grand-parents have the possibility to travel with you to the conference with you? It could be a nice experience for them and for the kid
  • If it doesn’t work 100% as expected that is quite normal. Having kids is often a bit like leaving the planning to someone else… 🙂
  • If you go to the conference as a couple you can share responsibility for the kid. We often try to share the responsibility
  • Plan something that the kid likes to do so that the trio becomes a positive experience for everyone
  • Be prepared to replan things, and make up a plan B if plan A fails.

Submitted Programme Application

This week I submitted an application for funding of a research programme related to equal communiation using ICT for foreign-born people. The programme will include three complementary research areas and addresses an urgent societal problem. The three areas are caring sciences, computer science and health economics.

The writing process was really very much fun this time. I collaborated with a full professor of Caring Science, and we had a great time even though we don’t know each other that much. The full professor of Caring Science is the Principal Investigator of the application.

In the programme we will work with the exploration of communiation needs of foreign-bron people with chronical diseases, and then continue with implementation of ICT related support to improve communication. The programme will run for six years, if funded, and will include three PhD students and two post doc positions some of which are in caring sciences and others in computer science.

When writing applications for funding, chances are quite low that you get funded. However, if you don’t submit any applications there will for sure be no money….

I really hope that we get funding for this programme and that I can get the possibility to explore this area!!

Participating in Panel Discussion about Software Engineering @ITiCSE 2018 on Cyprus

I have been invited to be a member of a panel on Software Engineering. The area to discuss is how the field has advanced and whether its education addresses the main problems and industry needs. I have several ideas of what to bring up at the workshop, and I haven’t really decided which one to choose yet. The ideas are:

  • Generellt software engineering at the university has too little focus on addressing wicked problems. There are far too many IT projects that fail.
  • Too little focus on professional competencies and the development of those.
  • Too little focus on user involvement and user needs.
  • We need to prepare students for working in an automateld software engineering profession. And we need to engage in the creation of this profession.
  • We need to see to it that computing becomes an inclusive profession and address the gender equality issue. Now!

I’ll write another blog post when I have decided which direction to go in… This will be fun!

Reframing to Equal Opportunities and not only Gender Equality – Do you have any tips?

I have been working with gender equality at the department of Information Technology for a few years, and I have really enjoyed this work. We have a great team at the department, and the support from management has been extremely good. Now it has been decided that the group will refocus and reframe into an equal opportunities group. The coming year we will be working on learning about equal opportunities, and I will spend time studying online courses, and attending seminars on equal opportunities. I am a bit worried about this reframing as we have had a great team working with gender equality with some very competent people. I guess that they are very competent in learning new things too, and we are indeed all very interested in the topic.

I might attend the Frontiers in Education Conference in 2018, as I know that they usually have presentations and workshops on gender equality and equal opportunities. Btw: It is very likely that this conference will be run in Uppsala in a few years 🙂

Do you have any tips on what we should read, or what conferences to visit to learn about the area of equal opportunities?

Applications for Funding from an Equal Opportunites Perspective

Doing evaluations for EU applications has so far been quite a learning experience. I have been asked to do evaluations of very large applications in the ICT area, and I will be doing applications 5-6 time a year for the coming years. The competence that I am especially contributing to for the group of evaluators is the equal opportunities perspective, apart from me being a researcher in ICT.

Many in the ICT business think it is very difficult to think of ICT projects from an equal opportunities perspective. They see ICT as neutral, and hence it is not possible too talk about from a any perspective. ICT is transparent, in their view, and simply a value free tool that people can use. It is as value free as a hammer. Anyone can use a hammer. (Smile). Firsts of all, ICT technology are male coded, and it is a completely male dominated area. A hammer also has all kinds of connotations to male professions, and men who are unable to use a hammer are not seen as real men….. Doing masculinity without being good at hammering is of course possible, but you rarely find men who are proud of not being able to use a hammer. ICT has the same kind of connotations. Also, not everyone can use a hammer due to not having the physical ability, not being able to see or having hands that are unable to hold a hammer.

ICT is not neutral, and there are a few large areas to look at when thinking about it in relation to ICT projects


1) The development work. Who are on the team? What are the roles of women and men on the team? What are their salaries in the project? Who will be talking to customers? Will all men be back-end programmers? What management principles will be used? How will management make sure that every competence is seen and heard? Is the management style inclusive? Is the manager and the people on the team aware of equal opportunities and have competence in the area?


2) Users Represented in the Project. How are the users present in the development? Do the project test with users? How are users recruited? Are all kinds of users represented? How do you make sure that you listen to all comments from users without being biased?

3) Assumptions about Users. What assumptions are made about the users of the technology? Have you though of people from all discrimination grounds? We have a tendency to design technology for men, and forget about diversity in all its forms. We need to do something about that.

4) Knowledge about inclusive design, design for all etc. I think that many software developers etc need better knowledge about design for all and inclusive design. What are the recommendations for inclusive design of web applications, of user interfaces etc? How do you make sure that your system is usable for everyone? My colleague Lars Oestreicher is an expert in this area and one of our best teachers at the department. If you want to learn more read his upcoming book or take his courses.
 The above are just some of the things that are relevant when writing an application and adding the equal opportunities perspective. I really hope to see fewer of the applications saying that ICT is neutral, and that there is nothing to say about the project application from an equal opportunities perspective.

Experiences from the Retreat related to Writing Applications for Promotion

The writing retreat that we organised for people who want to write applications for promotion was really a success! We finally got time to write our applications, and we also had nice discussions related to what to put in an application and not. I learned quite a lot from the discussions, and the company was really inspirational.

When asked for anonymous comments the participants wrote the following that was good about the retreat:

  • Good food & nice company
  • Raise awareness of what is important, but typically insufficiently emphasized.
  • Good to have some interrupted time-off to work on our applications.
  • To see other people’s applications and hear what others think and say
  • Time to write
  • More time to talk about career choices etc.
  • Great tips such as leadership courses
  • Time! Time! And talk during breaks.

Sigtuna Stadshotell really offered a warm and Christmas like atmosphere, and it is a place i strongly recommend for retreats of any kind.

You can find the plan for the retreat here.

After one day, there was an evaluation of the retreat, and day two of the retreat we added a walk during the lunch break to get some air. Now we are planning to meet and see to it that these great applications are sent in.

 

 

Flipped Gender Equality Coffee Discussion Based on TED talk

 

As you might know the flipped classroom is a phenomenon in teaching and learning. Some even present it as the silver bullet of all the problems we have in Higher Education.

At my department which we though that we’d try concept at our gender equality coffee break discussion (in Swedish fika) next week. It will be “a flipped gender equality fika”.

The plan is to watch this TED talk before the fika and discuss it during the fika:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12t7PYilNQQ

The idea of the TED talk came up at our last meeting in the gender equality group, and one of the participants found this TED talk.

Here are two questions that we will discuss at the fika: 

– How can we (as a society) make such a creative idea work?
– What are the challenges for the parents and for the child?

As usual the fika is open to anyone at the Department of Information Technology.  We’ll see how many show up.

Perhaps this is an idea that you could copy in your organisation?

 

On Being a Film Star for 30 Seconds at the NordWit Centre Meeting

“Please stand on the spot.  Hold the paper in front of you. No, not that high up: Your paper needs to be further down. Remember to smile.  Try to look natural.”

Last week did my first recording of a research presentation. The presentation lasted 30 sek and the short film will appear online soon on the NordWIT web page.

The whole NordWIT Centre team did films, and it will be interesting to see how well this spread in social media. One part of me wishes them to be very successful, since that would mean that people are interested in what we are doing. Another part of me really hopes that they will be NON- successful since I was awfully nervous and I both studdered and look completely NON-natural. I needed to redo the reading six times (at least)!!

Here are my observations from this experience:

  • 30 seconds is a very short time. I did many rehearsals but it was still difficult.
  • Given how nervous I was I think that doing a film using my computer would be easier for me. Quality would probably not be as good though.
  • Doing the films was almost a teambuilding experience

Equal Opportunities’ Team Retreat 2017

The equal opportunities team at the Department of Information Technology (previously gender equality group) goes on a retreat to beautiful Krusenberg herrgård every year. We spent 24 hours discussing and evaluating the work in the group and planning our work ahead.

I must say that we have an excellent group and there are so many great discussions. I especially appreciate the effort of my colleague Anna-Lena Forsberg who collaborate with me in organising and keeping track of our work. We also have excellent help from the equal opportunities expert Nina Almgren from the university administration.

Equal opportunities work should be integrated in all parts of the core activities in an organisation. It includes working with organisational culture and aspects such as transparency and knowledge. The aim is to create an organisation where everyone has the same opportunities, rights and obligations. This is not easily done though.

Next year our focus of the groups work is firstly to increase our knowledge of equal opportunities. We have an ambitious plan and the first thing that happens is the organisation of an Equal Opportunities course open for everyone at the department. I’m looking forward to attending this course and to learning more about the area. 😊