Category Archives: NordWit

Organizing a Retreat for Writing Applications for Promotion

If you want to be promoted in academia you need to write an application for promotion. Research has shown that women are less likely to ask for promotion, even when qualified, and some would say that we have a very harsh view you of our own qualifications. Others would say that this is due to the context, as the assessment of women’s CV’s is gendered. You find an interesting paper on the topic here. I would say that the problem is the result of a mix of both perspectives.

Perhaps one way of handling this is to encourage women and to facilitate the writing of the promotion documents? In our gender equality work we think that this could be a possible way forward, and we therefore a fund a retret for writing documents for promotion.

Hence, in December, the gender equality group will organize a retreat for writing applications for promotion. People working at the Department of information technology want to write applications for being promoted to for example Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor or Excellent Teacher are very welcome to join. I will organize the retreat together with Aletta Nylén and Anna Eckerdahl from the UpCERG research group.  All three of us will also be writing applications for a promotion this fall.

The idea of the retreat is both to encourage people to write applications, and to create an awareness of what is needed to be promoted. We also hope that those who join the retreat will find support in each other, and that this network will help in the future too. And of course we hope that the retweet will result in a number of applications for promotion.

We have been in contact with all women at the Department who are close to being promoted, and sent them a personal invitation. We have also contacted men who we know are at this stage in their career. I must say that this part of the job was one of the most rewarding things done in a long time. People were very happy about being asked!  

Hopefully this will be an interesting and fruitful occasion. If you’re curious you find a tentative plan here, and I’m very glad if you want to reuse this idea! Perhaps you could organise a similar thing at your university?



To Ask or Not to Ask? A Critical Incident and Gender Equality

This week we had an interesting situation at the department when the new programme board for the computer science programmes were to be decided upon.I am a member of the department board, but did not attend this meeting due to the kick-off with the NordWit centre. However, what happened is really a critical incident worth reflecting some more on.

I work at the Department of Information Technology at Uppsala University, and we have around 26% women if you look at all employees, but there are much less women that are associate professors or full professors. If you are curious you find some figures regarding men and women in our gender equality plan, and our work with gender equality is presented by Virginia Grande in this blog post.

This is what happened in this critical incident:

The suggested programme board for the computer programme board was all male, and the board did not accept it due to gender equality. The department board hence postponed the decision related to who would be a member of this programme board.

This was followed by a discussion per mail, and a request for 1) a description of why only men were suggested, and 2) also a description of what measures had been taken to find women for the positions.

Here are some perspectives that has come up when discussing this critical incident.

My name was mentioned as one possible member of the computer science programme board. But since I have much to do, and a full calendar, they did not ask me out of kindness and consideration. Note: I do have lots of things to do, and I would probably have said no if I was asked about this job. And saying no would have taken some energy from me, as I try to be helpful (which is perhaps only fulfilling the norm). However, one should note that I have not been asked to be a part of many committees, or groups, but that could be because of many reasons.

This also is a part of a larger discussion when women are not asked out of consideration of their work situation in male dominated organisations. There is a risk, some maintain, that competent women will be drowned in unpaid work in different groups and committees, and that this will stop them in their career.

So what would be the right thing to do here? To ask women even though they have much to do (out of consideration)? That is to ask, and let them say no? Saying no on the other hand is not that easy, and it is really difficult and energy consuming to say no. Or is it better not to ask them about these kinds of positions when you know that they have many other things on the agenda?

What do you think would be a good strategy regarding this?

I would suggest that making the process a bit more transparent would help some, and to have some criteria of what kind of background you want a member of the programme board or committee to have. And perhaps asking is better than not asking, even though that would mean that one would say no to offers.

However, gender equality work is tricky and it is not always obvious what would be the right thing to do.



Planning meeting at the NordForsk Centre of Excellence, NordWit

We have just spent two days planning the NordForsk Centre for Excellence. It was indeed a dynamic group of people discussing and very quickly deciding about contract details. Unlike most events I go to his one was women only. A refreshing difference 🙂

The name of the centre will be NordWit, and it will run for five years starting in March. Gabrielle Griffin is the Pi of the centre, and she will lead the work.  The focus of the centre is careers of women om research and knowledge intense areas, and the work is organised in four pillars. The centre will partly work with action research.

I will coordinate work in the eHealth pillar, and I will start my work with doing an interview study with the people who implemented Medical Records online in Sweden.

There will be a kick off event this fall, and more information will come around this. I will let you know for sure 🙂 .