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Ylva Fältholm, professor at the Division of Human Work Science and Dean of the Faculty of Science and technology. far left, Maria Udén, associate professor professor at the Division of Human Work Science and Paula Wennberg, Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology.

Increased equality at Luleå University

Published: 6 March 2014

Luleå University of Technology shall become a more gender-aware organization. Women and men should have equal opportunities in terms of research, innovation and access to higher academic positions. – We need to get the perspective into all our processes, says Ylva Fältholm, professor at the Division of Human Work Science and Dean of the Faculty of Science and technology.

It is within the framework of the project Genovate as gender awareness should take shape. For LTU's part, the focus is on information and communication technology (ICT). The ICT sector is characterized by single-sex structures, both in academia as in industry. Earlier equality work has often focused on interventions aimed at the under-represented sex – in this case women – in the form of, for example, special networks and projects.

– Such interventions have contributed to major changes for individuals but has not altered the unequal system, says Ylva Fältholm.

Now, focus is moved from spot measures to gender work that must permeate all activities. Greater transparency in decision-making processes and clearer monitoring are some examples of possible actions. Integrating a gender perspective into LTU's strong areas of excellence in research and innovation, another.

– We believe that LTU can achieve a better ranking among universities if we have a gender consciousness around which we build our excellent environments, says Maria Udén, assistant professor at the division of Human Work Science. 

Everyone should be trained in gender studies?

– No, absolutely not. However, using the results of gender research, we give concrete examples of how a gender perspective works, says Maria Udén.

– I feel that there is a broad acceptance around these issues. But there are of course different views on this, therefore it is important to discuss the issues.

Recruitment processes is an area that can be improved from a gender perspectives. Of the professors who Luleå University of Technology recruited in 2013, 21 percent were women. Of the total number of permanent employees professors that year, 83 percent were male.

– The goal must be that there should be equal representation everywhere. We want a society that is accessible for all, says Maria Udén.

Genovate is a research project funded by the EU FP7, the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten and LTU. The project aims to develop and implement strategies for gender-aware management in organizations. Luleå University of Technology is one of seven partners in the project. Centre for Distance-spanning Technology, CDT, is the project owner in collaboration with researchers from the Division of Human Work Science.