Gender Equality in Academia and Research
Equality Office – Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) (SE)
KTH appointed a Vice-President for Gender Equality and Core Values in 2017, whose task is to promote gender mainstreaming and equal opportunities. HEIs in Sweden must work according to several government objectives and legal obligations within the broader equality framework. KTH also set up an Equality Office to coordinate implementation and support different units and management levels. Through the Equality Office, KTH is conducting research-based proactive work at both the strategic and practical level, with the aim of promoting gender equality, diversity and equal terms from an intersectional perspective. The KTH Equality Office comprises six people: the Vice-President, a special expert, three Gender Equality strategists and a pedagogical advisor. KTH also includes faculty positions with responsibilities for gender equality and equal opportunities. Work on gender mainstreaming and equal conditions at KTH’s five schools is designed and implemented at local level, but coordinated via the Equality Office. The activities of the Equality Office include training initiatives, leadership development, recruitment and assessment, as well as career support, monitoring and evaluation. It works through dialogue and interactive working methods, with the experts at the Equality Office working together with staff and students. Although covering all university members, the Equality Office is mainly focused on educating and supporting leadership and managerial functions. In 2017, it started a one-year programme in Gender and Change Management (GOFL) for 18 women in senior positions at the university. The programme aimed for participants to act as change leaders, advocates and multipliers in their areas of the organisation. An important prerequisite for the work of the Equality Office is that gender mainstreaming and equal opportunities are anchored in KTH’s steering documents and central work processes. The Equality Office has been received positively. Its coordination with gender mainstreaming and equal opportunities work has resulted in clearer anchoring at management level, together with operational support for trade unions and the student union. Training and different working methods have been created to facilitate management and other key positions know-how on integrating gender equality. Regular meetings with responsible staff provide the Equality Office with an overview of the overall gender equality and equal opportunities work. Knowledge and awareness of gender equality has increased at KTH, and longer term effects at societal level are expected when graduates spread their knowledge of gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities beyond the university itself.