Workshop on Gender Aware Leadership

On March 22nd Guidelines on Gender Aware Leadership (Riktlinjer för ett jämställt ledarskap) were launched in a workshop by Triple Steelix and Nordwit in order to inspire concrete policies and action for steel companies to attract and retain highly skilled female employees. The guidelines are based on knowledge and experience exchange between, on the one hand, women in research and development from companies in the Triple Steelix industrial region and, on the other hand, researchers in Nordwit.

Before lunch we were inspired by lectures by:
Jesper Fundberg, Women’s success in working life – a matter of changing men.
Nyamko Sabuni shared her experiences from the work of ÅF – Making future.
Max Parknäs, Vinnova – Equal Innovation – Who, what and how?
Ann-Cathrin Hellsén, Practical gender equality work in a traditional male workplace.

After lunch, we discussed what kind of interview questions one would ask if one wanted to recruit a gender aware manager. Some examples that came up were: Describe with concrete examples how you have worked to improve gender equality in previous workplaces. How do you ensure that you make equal pay as a manager? Have you worked at a male-dominated/female-dominated/gender-balanced workplace? Which one would you choose and why? We also discussed salary criteria, if gender equality should be rewarded in the paycheck. For example, high level managers could be rewarded by promoting women’s careers. Using negative jargon could be punished salary-wise.

Lastly, we discussed and concretized some of the recommendations in the guidelines. It is important to have data on a very local level, to show that inequality exists – both when it comes to measurable things and things that cannot be measured. It was also said that it is important that managers are aware of the competences of both women and men to make best use of them, and for that to become true, the workplace as a whole needs to be inclusive. It was also said that it is necessary to change men’s behavior in order to create better workplaces for all genders and that male managers with a gender agenda are crucial for making change.

Pictures and interviews from the workshop can be found here.

Nina Almgren & Minna Salminen Karlsson 

Gendering Research

Yesterday, I led a seminar on ‘Gendering Research: Teams, Processes, Perspectives and Impact’, for researchers at the beautiful campus of Høgskulen in Vestlandet, Norway. We explored what it means to undertake gender-sensitive research. The back-drop is that the concept ‘gendering research’ has become vital in our universe of cut-throat competition for limited finances and doing research that is impactful. In almost all calls for proposals, gender is not only a prerequisite but it also is a ‘cross-cutting issue’.


The presentation/seminar aimed at unraveling the what, why and more importantly how gender can be integrated within research proposal writing, research processes and outcomes, in a way that gives it authenticity, efficacy and relevance to garner funding but also in solving today’s societal challenges. We were joined by Dr. Gilda Seddighi from the University of Bergen whose contributions surrounding the history of gender mainstreaming policy in research and gender as an analytical tool were invaluable.

The seminar explored historical, conceptual/philosophical approaches and methodological approaches to fostering gendering research. It is in harmony with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (nr. 5 on gender equality), but also Norwegian Research Council and H2020 principles on gender equality seen as fundamental components of Human Rights and Social Justice, among others. 

The seminar focused on long, medium and short term requirements addressing vertical and horizontal structural and systematic approaches to bridging gender gaps in research anda society. So from exploring regulatory mandates to institutional/structural perrequisites, to building effective teams, to gendering research processes and perspectives, to gender budgeting, gender analysis to tackling resistance and finally a checklist for important indicators.

I am hopeful this workshop will contribute to raising awareness and skilling researchers with the aim of harnessing diversity, representation, inclusiveness and ultimately improving the scientific quality and impact of research across disciplines!

Workshop funded by Western Norway Research Institute in synergy with the NORDWIT’s Nordic Center of Excellence Project.

Carol Azungi Dralega

Papers presented at the #CENS2018

Carol Azungi Dralega and Hilde G. Corneliussen from Vestlandsforskning presented two papers on the Nordwit-project at the Second Nordic Challenge Conference arranged by the Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki, 7‒9 March 2018. 

The presentations gave an insight into women’s technology-driven career trajectories within the fields of research, innovation and media, with focus on the rural and sparsely populated region of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.

‘Women’s career trajectory in technology-driven R&I in rural communities’
Hilde G. Corneliussen & Carol Azungi Dralega 

This presentation explores the challenge of “women in technology” in a rural region in Norway. Like the other Nordic countries, Norway has a paradoxical low proportion of women in technology disciplines compared to how high these countries are rated on the annual World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, as well as other international comparisons. Most studies of women in technology have been concentrated to urban environments with a multitude of R&I institutions and, in academic spaces, in large institutions. In this paper we explore women’s career opportunities and trajectories in technology-driven research and innovation in public and private sectors in a rural and sparsely populated region in the Western part of Norway. How do women experience their career opportunities in this region? Where and how do they find support, alliance or resistance in this landscape where R&I institutions are limited in numbers and the units are small? The analysis is based on interviews with individual women as well as dialogues with networks of women from the Western part of Norway.

‘Women’s careers in technology-driven employment – Focus on female media practitioners in Sogn og Fjordane’
Carol Azungi Dralega 

This presentation explores the nature and impact of ICTs on women’s careers as journalists in Sogn og Fjordane in the era of social media, media convergence and citizen journalism. Basing on the rapidly changing media ecology driven by developments in digital communication, this presentation shares insights on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are impacting on the female journalists’ day-to-day practice and career ambitions. The context for this is two-fold: the gender paradox that shows that despite high gender equality in the Norwegian workplace (and other Scandinavian countries), fewer women are to be found in technology driven work arenas especially in the higher echelons of management and leadership not just in research and innovation but also in the media industry. It is the later, that this presentation dwells on, exploring how women are positioning themselves in the currently highly digitized media industry. The presentation explores the dynamics, relations and practices that constitute and strengthen but also weaken the power and agency of female media practitioners from the view point of the practitioners themselves.

Cognitive Assemblages?

Zbynek Baladran Cognitive Assemblages
Illustration: Zbyněk Baladrán

It’s a year since we started work in Nordwit – can’t believe it’s gone so quickly!
So much has happened. . .

Reading N. Katherine Hayles’ Unthought (University of Chicago Press, 2017), I’m struck by her notion of ‘cognitive assemblages’ to describe human-technical interaction which she discusses as fully imbricated. I wonder if the women and men whose careers in technology-driven work contexts we are exploring in Nordwit understand themselves as cognitive assemblages? In Hayles’ work agency is distributed, as are many other things such as responsibility – but do our research participants think of themselves in that way? The people I have interviewed in the context of Digital Humanities tend to take a rather instrumentalist view of technology, and we might want to ask, what difference does it make if you understand yourself as a ‘cognitive assemblage’ or as someone who makes use of technology – or, as academics can often feel, as a ‘victim’ of technology (the skype in my office isn’t working, we’re unable to project images etc.)?

Gabriele Griffin