I write in Dagens Nyheter about sexism in the IT sector

by Jan Gulliksen on March 8, 2013

March 8 is the International Womans Day, and therefore an extra suitable day to highlight a major problem in the Swedish IT sector – the lack of women. This is the topic of my op-ed article in Dagens Nyheter today.

We like to think that Sweden is a relatively equal society, but that is really not the case in the IT sector where only 23 percent are women. In Finland, it is 44 percent women.

Some people say that the numbers are driven by larger male interest in technology, and some even think there are biological explanations. But numbers from other parts of the world, where women show a lot more interest in technology, prove this wrong.

I think that we fail because our society defines IT as something “male”. In Asia and Turkey they do not, and they have 50 percent women in their IT programs. Our society, and especially the IT business, has to claim responsibility to change this.

I think that it is important also that we at KTH do whatever we can to help change this. Lets all make use of this day to derive ideas on how we could improve gender equality at KTH and elsewhere.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

EvilWhiteMan March 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

We are in this so called equal society only giving focus on male-dominated areas where there is money to be made or influence to be gained. What do I mean by this? Well, I do not see any debate in other fields such as for instance car mechanics or garbage collectors. I do also not see any debate for getting more men into female-dominated areas such as nursing. Now I know this is not your field as “Digital champion” but from a broader perspective, this debate about equal workforce is not equal.

I look at my engineering class and see roughly less than 20% women. When we have our degree, that means the women in my class are guaranteed a job while I am not, reglardless of CV, experience, interests or personality. But you have your degree in a different time so its easy for you now to stand and say what you are saying right now, you already made it. I am however, forced to seek opportunity outside Sweden.

Reply

Jan Gulliksen April 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

Dear EvilWhiteMan,

Of course you are right, there are many more fields than the digital field where there is a need for an increased gender equity, and I am certain that activities also take place in other branches.

What is special with the IT sector when it comes to gender equality is that we are not doing as well as many of our neighbouring countries. There are much better figures in Finland, and in SUothern Europe there is a much better distribution. This should raise some questions and give us some incentives to try and understand why Sweden, that is known for its gender equality, fails to deliver in this specific sector.

Yours

Gulan

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