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Photo: Staffan Westerlund
Jonna Barsk, business strategist at SSAB and Lena Abrahamsson, professor of Human Work Science at Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Staffan Westerlund View original picture , opens in new tab/window

The basic industry needs active gender equality work for its survival

Published: 29 September 2020

Technological development cannot in itself create equal workplaces according to Lena Abrahamsson, professor of work science at Luleå University of Technology. Together with Jonna Barsk, operations strategist at SSAB, she gave a lecture at the House of Science in Luleå on the conditions for increasing gender equality in the basic industry.

The basic industry needs more equal workplaces, not only for reasons of justice but for its survival.

– We at SSAB have a great need for future competence supply. In order to be able to recruit the right skills from the entire population, we must be an attractive workplace for both sexes, Jonna Barsk says.

SSAB has tried to improve gender equality, among other things, by recruiting more women as seasonal substitutes.

– Seasonal temporary employment is the gateway to permanent employment. Our goal is to recruit 50 percent women for seasonal vacancies, but so far they make up only 43 percent.

Research collaboration – Industry 4.0

SSAB collaborates with Luleå University of Technology in the research project Industry 4.0, led by Lena Abrahamsson. "4.0" refers to the fourth industrial revolution, ie digitalisation and AI technology.

– In industry, there is a touch of naive optimism about what technology can achieve for gender equality, says Lena Abrahamsson.

Technological development entails changes, but conscious gender equality work is required to steer development in the desired direction. It is not a given that computerization automatically means that more women are recruited to the basic industry, given that the computer industry and computer-related education are dominated by men.

– There is a risk that the new technology becomes gender-marked if not the workplace culture, its norms, yes the whole society gets a kick in the but, says Lena Abrahamsson.