Category Archives: gender equality

Long-term, transparency and resources have made the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University an role model for work with gender equality

This is a translation of an article in Universitetsläraren published in May 2019 about the Departments’ work with equal opportunities .

Long-term, transparency and resources have made the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University an role model for work with gender equality.

The professors Åsa Cajander and Michael Thuné have, in their previous roles as equality representatives and head of department, pursued gender equality issues at the department.

– You usually talk about two aspects of gender equality, one is that there should be equal gender distribution, the other is that there should be equal work conditions and that there should be no gender differences. It often happens that the focus is on the even gender distribution, but we have tried to put the main focus on equal conditions and equal working conditions and create a good working environment for everyone, says Michael Thuné.
The institution’s gender equality work is nothing new, but Michael Thuné has been working on the issues at the department for 20 years.
– One of the things that I consider important to us was when we got a collaboration with a gender equality project funded by the EU, where they worked with action research. As an ombudsman for gender, I had a gender expert who came to all our meetings, was available to me to talk to several times a week, we discussed the different situations and meetings and the measures. It was continuous help for several years, says Åsa Cajander.
One important thing is also that there are financial resources.

– The Gender Equality Officer has ten percent in their service and also a budget of over one million continuously each year for gender equality projects and various measures. This is something that costs money, says Åsa Cajander.
One important thing is to move from informal structures to formal structures.- We have focused a lot on transparent communication and decision paths so that employees do not miss important information, which is a way of being overridden, says Michael Thuné.

Among other things, you send out information in advance even for smaller meetings, and you have introduced an institution-wide standing committee.

– There are many important assignments that have previously been designated a little informally, in small informal working groups, says Michael Thuné.
When it is now to be appointed, for example, a new director of studies announced that it is time to nominate.
– It has had a huge effect that we have received more women on management assignments in recent years. Today, all three leading positions are occupied by women, says Åsa Cajander.
All of these measures have led to a better work environment and even more women in total at the institution, but this is not a big increase. The number of women in the IT sector is few.

Why do you do this?
– My input is that a lot of problems follow with the digitization and the rapid pace of change contributes to unwanted effects. We need people who work with these issues who have values ​​other than the ones in the IT industry, we just need more women.
– I am more driven by both a fair and a quality perspective. There should be no gender-related differences in conditions and working conditions. It is a matter of justice. And both at the university and at the department, it is a quality issue that all employees and all students have the opportunity to perform their best without structures that hinder them, says Michael Thuné.
Another aspect of successful gender equality work is the importance of getting support from the management, both at university and faculty level.

The gender equality work at the department continues with work environment-oriented projects where one is pasting a department at a time.
– Recently, we have also introduced a career development program for all assistant university lecturers. The idea is that those who do not receive such support on an informal basis will benefit more from the fact that there is prepared support for everyone. We believe that this can promote gender equality and equal conditions in a broader sense, says Michael Thuné.

Gender Mainstreaming in Academia – the Wonder Project

My colleagues Robin Strand (head of division), Ginevra Castellano (the Equal Opportunities Officer at the Department) and I (deputy head of division) has received funding within gender mainstreaming from the central university. Giulia Perugia is also on the team and together we will work with making a difference in this area.

The project is called WONDER (WOrk eNvironment aND wEllbeing) and is an organisational development project. We will work with health promotion and work environment improvement measures for everyone and with particular focus on the group of doctoral students and young researchers at the unit. And from a gender perspective

The first part focuses on working environment and health with five seminar opportunities on preventing stress, depression and stress in relation to gender. We will also invite an stress expert to do workshops with us.

Part two focuses on inclusive leadership. We shall, among other things, develop a strategy for sustainable leadership, develop a policy for how internal resources are distributed so that, for example, the distribution of faculty resources and workload becomes transparent and can be followed up.  We will improve their information dissemination with skills-enhancing seminars, which in turn will result in a strategy for inclusive communication.

Super Nice Surprise by the Equal Opportunities Team at the Department

I have been the Equal Opportunities Officer at the department for a few years. This role has included working with a team of people from administrative staff, technical staff and representatives from the five different divisions. The department has a strong focus on equal opportunities, and have a very ambitious yearly plan about the work. The team has been amazing in this work. We have had a very positive and creative atmosphere, and I have put quite a lot of effort into doing a good job.

A few weeks back I was honorary discharged of the role. I have been given the opportunity to work as deputy head of division, and I felt like it was two much keeping both roles.

The equal opportunities team surprised me early one Monday morning and handed over a painting that they had made. On the painting they had written encouraging and super nice things thanking me for my efforts. I must say that I was really very surprised and happy about this. We are not especially good at showing appreciation at the department, and this was indeed not expected.  Now I have the nice painting hanging on the wall in my office that reminds about equal opportunities and gender equality.

I will have the possibility to thank everyone on the equal opportunities team on an international celebration’s day that is organised by Virginia Grande Castro and others. Anyone is welcome to attend! You can read more here:

http://www.it.uu.se/about_us/equality/international_celebration

 

 

Interviewed by SVT Nyheter about Gender Equality Work in Academia

As you know I work with gender equality in academia and also do some research on career paths in eHealth.
The department’s work with gender equality and recommendations for successfully doing so was broadcasted on TV last week followed by a new article. In the interview they talked to me and the former Head of Department, Michael Thuné. Of course one of the recommendations for others who want to work with gender equality is to collaborate with external experts and researchers in the area. Other recommendations that we make are to have the management’s active support for your work, to work with this as an integrated part of you ordinary work and to have a long term strategy.
You can find the piece of news here:

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.

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?

New Study : Managers and the Implementation of Medical Records Online

I am about to start a new study on the implementation of medical records online in different counties and regions in Sweden. This study is supported by INERA which is the coordinating organisation for you health services nationally in Sweden. It is also partly funded by my work in the NordWIT Centre.  The study is multidisciplinary, and there will be researchers coming from gender studies, medical Informatics and human computer interaction collaborating in the analyses and writing up of the data.

Next week I will do my first interviews, and later on we will distribute a survey to all regions and counties in Sweden. This study will focus on the implementation process and what happened in different parts of the country. The study will also focus on the experiences and careers of the managers and leaders who works with this.

The launch of medical records online for patients was indeed controversial in Sweden. Many physicians and nurses were worried that patients would read and become upset and anxious. Other concerns related to the work environment in healthcare, and the increased need of support from patients who might read their medical directors and be worried. At the same time many patients appreciated the system, and today the system is used by more than 1 million people in Sweden.

Sweden consist of autonomous County council and Regions when it comes to IT and eHealth. This means that they all individually decided what to show to patients, when to show it and also what not to show. In our study we will be investigating this process and what happened.

I am so thrilled about doing a study on my own again! Lately I’ve been supporting others very much, but now it’s finally my turn to do it myself again!

I will surely blog more about this in the future 🙂

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. 😊