Skip to main content
To KTH's start page To KTH's start page

Mapping of academic housekeeping

The ABE school working group for gender equality, diversity and equal treatment issues (JML) has identified the need for a mapping of the academic housekeeping at the school. The mapping is expected to be presented after the summer 2024. The work is led by consultants Helena Nilsson and Liselott Vahermägi from Stratvise in dialogue with Head of school and JMLA Björn Berggren.
You can read more about the mapping and academic housekeeping here.

Academic housekeeping can be described as those tasks in a university department that need to be done but are often non-meritorious and of low status. It can be divided into three categories - low-status tasks, chores done out of duty and care work.

Objective - After completing the survey, the school will have:

  • A clear picture of which non-meritorious tasks occur at the school and how these are currently distributed;
  • Answers to whether there are unequal work conditions in this respect;
  • A basis for decision-making to address any inequalities.

We need to ensure that the distribution of tasks is done from a gender and diversity perspective. The mapping is included as an activity in the operational plan. Through the mapping, we expect to find out whether there are unequal work conditions that need to be recognised and addressed.

The mapping exercise will be carried out in three phases according to the following timetable:

Phase 1 - preparatory interviews 

During November and December 2023, the first of the three phases of the mapping exercise will take place. The school's JML group and heads of divisions have so far participated in initial interviews to identify areas and typical situations and further interviews are planned.

Phase 2 - survey 

In Phase 2, a quantitative survey is planned in the form of a questionnaire to be sent to the school's professors, associate professors, assistant lecturers, researchers, lecturers and doctoral students.

Phase 3 - analysis of results 

In phase 3, qualitative interviews are conducted to analyse the phenomenon in more depth based on the results of the survey.

Q & A about the survey

More about academic housekeeping

Academic housekeeping can involve both official duties and more invisible work.

Some things are more meritorious - for example, being a member of a committee can be quite low-status, while being a chairperson is prestigious. So who gets that role? Non-formal tasks also need to be identified - who fills in when another teacher is ill, who takes meeting notes for project meetings, who is part of the Christmas party group, who makes sure the conference is booked? These things need to be done but they take time away from other tasks and rarely lead to merit when it comes to promotion etc. 

The concept of academic housework comes from research on organisation, work and gender. A starting point for the mapping is Sara Kalm's scientific article On academic housekeeping and its allocation , Sociologisk forskning, vol 56, no 1 (2019).