Paula Wennberg
Paula Wennberg, project manager at the Center for Distance-Spanning Technology, will lead the Gender Smart Arena project. Photo: Linda Alfredsson View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Business model for more gender equality

Published: 18 June 2018

An inclusive and innovative business model that provides better business for companies in the IT industry. This is the goal of the Gender Smart Arena project. – Without gender equality companies will not get sustainable growth, says Paula Wennberg, Project Manager at the Center for Distance-Spanning Technology at Luleå University of Technology.

Several studies show that an equal workplace characterized by diversity contributes to well-being, boosts creativity and innovativeness and enhances corporate competitiveness. In the Gender Smart Arena project, an industry that is traditionally man-dominated – the IT industry – is in focus. If the industry should continue to grow, the traditional gender patters need to be broken. IT development affects everyone and people's skills, regardless of sex, age and origin need to be taken into better consideration.

– Companies and other actors often ask for research-based knowledge, tools and methods related to business development and practical gender mainstreaming, says Paula Wennberg.

– IT companies sell their products and services to both women and men, and therefore it is obvious that both women and men should develop them. Furthermore, it is important that both men and women have equal opportunity to influence the future's IT development. In the long run, gender equality creates more business and growth.

Gender mainstreaming

The Gender Smart Arena project aims to strengthen the cooperation between SMEs, universities and the public sector, focusing on practical gender mainstreaming. Th gender mainstreaming will result in enhanced innovation capacity and increased competitiveness. A collaborative arena and meeting place between actors with different backgrounds will widen the perspective of innovation and how new innovative gender-conscious business models can strengthen business development.

– A gender-conscious business model invokes norm-critical and norm-creative development of the business model and its various parts to develop opportunities for value creation. The goal of gender mainstreaming is to go from an old business model to a new business model, both in thought and action, says Paula Wennberg.

Exchange between universities and companies

Hopefully, companies within the male dominated IT industry should be able to use gender equality and diversity as a strategic tool in business and business development. The companies involved in the project will get acquainted with the knowledge development at the university, for example through workshops and seminars, and get the opportunity to use tools that drive the company's development towards increased gender equality.

– The university, in turn, will be able to take part of the business conditions and development needs. In the long run, the project contributes to a more inclusive and sustainable society that are attractive for both women and men, says Paula Wennberg.

Contact

Paula Wennberg

Paula Wennberg, Project Manager

Phone: +46 (0)920 491285
Organisation: Digital Services and Systems, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering