Fill the Gap aims to increase student gender equality
The number of women working in the technology industry remains low. This is also reflected in KTH's study programmes. KTH's Fill the Gap initiative looks to change that.
Fill the Gap is a student recruiting effort designed to encourage young women to take on a technical education at KTH. The initiative promotes role models and highlights current issues.
Or as alumna Tonima Afroze puts it: "Technology reflects the world around us, and for technology to include all needs, we need diversity among those who create it."
The project group that works with the initiative has representatives from EECS, CBH and SCI schools. Project Manager is Alina Lingnau, responsible for national student recruitment at KTH.
Campaign based on study results
Previous recruitment studies show that young women consider social issues important and do not associate the profession with providing any social benefits.
"This is why we highlight the social benefit of the engineering profession in our campaign work, highlighting women's involvement in climate, environmental, health and gender equality issues," says Charlotta Alnersson, EECS representative in the project group.
Studies also show that it is difficult to relate to what an engineer actually does and to identify with the role. To counter this, former students act as role models to provide concrete examples of what it means to work as an engineer.
"Several students say they are studying at KTH precisely because of Fill the Gap. So even if it is difficult to determine statistically what events and investments do for gender equality in our programmes, we know that it is essential for individuals. And that gives us the motivation to continue," says Charlotta.
A long-term project
This kind of investment is nothing new for KTH. Initially, it went under the project name Giants and took place at KTH Campus on Valhallavägen every year.
"Because the programme distribution is very different, we want to focus on education with fewer than 30% female first-time applicants. There is, pun intended, a gap to fill," says Charlotta.
But the change does not happen overnight. In order to reach new target groups, the way of working must also change.
"This year, we want to reach broader. Partly give people who do not live in Stockholm the opportunity to discover the advantages of the engineering profession, and partly to organize different occasions and ways to visit KTH," Charlotta says.
This year's event includes an extensive social media campaign to increase the number of prospective students signing up to visit KTH.
"There are many possibilities if you want to visit KTH this spring. For example, the student ambassadors organize campus visits. You can see one or five open houses on our various campuses, have dinner with the Aviation and Physics Section and go to brunch with the Electrical Section's women's association Noblesse," concludes Charlotta.