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"An equal engineer is a better engineer"

How is the JML work going, Martin?

Martin Edin Grimheden. Photo: Anneli Nygårds
Published Nov 16, 2021

Can we be best in gender equality and thus deliver better engineers? Martin Edin Grimheden, Head of Department of Machine Design, thinks so. His mission is to make more people realize the same through education.

"When I heard that Kiruna IF LGBTQ-certified their hockey players so that they would become better players and win the league", says Martin, "it struck me that we should have the best engineers and the best researchers – and get there through gender equality".

Courses and workshops

Martin Edin Grimheden's  commitment cannot be mistaken. His vision is that ITM should be the best in gender equality and consequently produce the best engineers, and he will reach there through workshops and training of the staff.

"This is not just a competence development, but to a certain extent a competence shift. It is not possible to solve tomorrow's challenges with the skills we have today. I believe that an equal engineer is simply a better engineer".

Practically, Martin orders courses, workshops and training for the ITM school's 700 employees, where the next management training will start in December. In addition, the school's Large JML group will have a workshop on norm-critical thinking later this year. Previously, he has also, with the help of KTH Equality Office, JML-developed the program for Mechanical Engineering by educating, challenging and supporting the teaching staff. Some learnings from the past are influencing his current work.

"Personally, I have had many eye-openers in meetings with others. There are workshops where my ideas have truly been challenged. I want more people to have these aha experiences".

Strategically selected research areas

In addition to the assignment with internal training, Martin has an entire department to conduct JML work at. At Machine Design, a JML group with three people proposes changes, carries out local workshops, and monitors the managers' work. They also highlight challenges at the department and help the management stay focused on gender equality, diversity and equal conditions.

Martin focuses where he can influence – with training, workshops, recruitment and strategically selected subject areas. In his role as head of the department, Martin works actively to achieve a more gender-balanced team. By strategically choosing which topics to invest in, he hopes that people with various backgrounds and genders will consider applying for a position or an education.

"We see that the subject areas we are moving towards right now, such as socio-technical systems, sustainable solutions and a broader system perspective, have better opportunities to attract a diversity of employees and students than most subject areas we are in today".

In five years, he believes that JML groups and courses belong to the past. By then, JML issues permeate all educations, leadership training, staff development, work environment discussions, and development and salary dialogues naturally.

"Working with JML is not only a way to win a hockey league, but it can also be a shortcut to developing better operations in general. I did not see that coming when I started this work".

Text: Ulrika Georgsson

This is the first article in the series "How is the JML work going?" Next in line is Head of Department Björn Laumert, who will tell us how Energy Technology wants to attract more women with role models and recruitment strategies.

Facts about the JML work at the ITM school

JML is a KTH concept that stands for Gender equality, Diversity and Equal opportunities.

At the ITM School, the management team participates in the JML work so it can be integrated into many different parts. Some leaders have specific areas of responsibility and are part of the "Small JML group" led by JMLA.

In addition, there are local JML groups at each department and in the professional support that capture employees' ideas and transform them into different activities. They are part of the "Large JML group".