The JML group to focus on academic housekeeping and role models
Since the turn of the year 2018, all schools have an appointed Director of Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Treatment (JMLA) who, together with the school's JML group, is responsible for the local JML work. Now there is a report on all schools' local JML work in 2019 (only available in Swedish). The ABE school's JML group have also selected new focus areas for 2020.
At the ABE school level, there is a yearly work cycle for the JML group's work. In the Autumn, focus is placed on discussing the school's operational plan and its activities for the coming year. In the Spring discussions are focused on how to implement the decided activities. For the operational plan 2020, the JML group has now proposed activities that has been approved by the school management.
- In 2020, we want to focus on role models and what is called "academic housekeeping," says Mats Wilhelmsson, Deputy Head of School and the ABE-school JMLA.
It is important that there are role models in many contexts, for both students and staff - it can be the manager, the teacher, the guest lecturer, the supervisor. There must be someone you can recognize yourself in. Therefore, it is important to look at the entirety of the courses and programmes, what does it look like with guest lecturers, for example, who are invited to lecture? We have an incredible number of competent alumni of different genders and backgrounds so it should be possible to ensure a wide selection.
We will also map the distribution of academic housekeeping. This is simply about the type of tasks at a university institution that needs to be performed but which are often non-merit and low-status. This can involve both official assignments and more invisible work. Who does what? Some things are more meritorious - for example, it can be fairly low-status to join a committee, while it is a merit to be the chair of a committee. So who gets that role?
Non-formal assignments also need to be mapped - who helps out with teaching when another teacher is ill, who takes project notes for at meetings, who joins 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. We need to ensure that the distribution of tasks is made with an equality and diversity perspective.
How should this be implemented?
Our idea is to map the current situation first, see how it works today in different parts of the school. Then we will see what can be done. Of course, the formal assignments are easier to chart, where you can count heads. We will need to review unofficial tasks in a more qualitative way, perhaps by including questions about this in an employee survey.
Then we also need to look at how we anchor the local JML work at the departments. The departments also do other JML activities than those that take place at school level. It is not intended that a single representative from the JML group should run the local work, these questions need to permeate the work we all do daily. At ABE's school's office for students affairs there are, for example, a working group who focuses specifically on the JML integration linked to the school's students. The group works both with information towards students and to support the office in investigations of harassment cases for example.
Tiina Winter is the group manager of the school's study counsellors. She is one of the school's office for students affairs representatives in the JML group and attended the gender-conscious leadership course in the Autumn of 2019. - It is really rewarding to have the opportunity to discuss concrete activities with colleagues from different parts of the ABE school to integrate JML into our daily work. We need to work on this together; students, technical-administrative staff and faculty.
Mats Wilhelmsson points out that there will also be a JML perspective in the RAE in 2020, both in the self-evaluations and the final evaluation, in the same way that there is a sustainability perspective.
Malin Wennerholm, Deputy Director of First and Second Cycle Education (Deputy GA) and Deputy Head of KTH Architecture thinks it is self-evident: -There is absolutely no time left to talk about why it is important to have an equal and inclusive education and work environment. Now, in 2020, we will all be working at the ABE school only with measures that have a clear and direct impact on our common school environment. I know for sure that we have that power.
Mats Wilhelmsson feels that the ABE school is on the right track. - We have strengthened the local JML work at the school by working together with these issues in a school-wide JML group with representatives from different parts of the organisation. We have a formal organisation in place to work concretely ahead. Equality thinking must permeate the entire organisation and all activities. The ABE school has come a long way when it comes to JML issues, but there is also a lot to work on.