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A new fighter for equality

Portraits of Annika and Martin, smiling
Annika Borgenstam hands over to Martin Edin Grimheden as the ITM School's JMLA. Photo: Anneli Nygårds
Published Jan 25, 2022

Annika Borgenstam, Head of Materials Science, hands over the JMLA* role to Martin Edin Grimheden, Machine Design. Among other things, Annika has organized the ITM School's activities for gender equality, diversity and equal conditions. Now Martin wants to focus on how we can do to bring about change at all levels.

When Annika Borgenstam was named the ITM School's JMLA in 2019, there was a president assignment but no team. All schools appointed someone to lead the work on gender equality, diversity and equal conditions, but apart from that, they chose different solutions. The ITM School started activities on several levels, which is unique at KTH. Annika took the questions into the management group, and she also engaged employees at other levels by creating a large JML group.

"I am proud of the structure we created, JML Partner Helena Lundquist from HR and I", says Annika. "Now, the JML issues have a higher priority throughout the ITM School".

Thanks to the Large JML group, with representatives at departments and administration, the issues have approached all employees. Inclusion, introduction for new employees, diversity and work culture, have been in scope, and the group has arranged workshops, surveys and Swedish fika, to name a few examples. Annika believes that it is essential to have vivid discussions in many different areas:

"When you think of JML, you may tend to look for activity, but it is equally important to increase awareness of the issues in everyone".

At the management level, the leaders started with a JML course. Over the years, they have had lively discussions about recruitment, JML in research and training, work environment and following up various key figures. The heads were given different assignments to continue working with, and now - three years later – they have great knowledge of the issues. When Annika now leaves the assignment, it is quite natural that these people will take over and pass on the responsibility each year.

"I think it is good that JMLA now shifts among the people in the management team", she says." In this way, new power and different perspectives are added every year".

But it is with double feelings that Annika leaves the helm.

"I think this is incredibly important, and that is why I need to hand over to someone who has more time for these questions".

For Martin Edin Grimheden, Head of Machine Design, the step to JMLA is not very far. He has a significant commitment to the issues and has coordinated training and workshops at the ITM School. In 2022, he will be the one who runs the school's JML work before handing over to the next department head. And to the question of what Martin wants to focus on in the future, the answer is:

"How is the big question we need to work on during the year! In 2019, we devoted much energy to arguing why we should make these investments. Then it turned into what we needed to do. We now have a good picture of what we need to do in terms of recruitment, work environment, inclusive education and more. The question for 2022 will be how we will implement all this".

This is something that neither managers nor JML representatives have answers to right now, but with different perspectives, there is perhaps a greater chance to succeed.

What advice does the old JMLA want to forward to the new one? The answer is pending, but then Annika Borgenstam answers with a smile:

"Try to change where you can and stop yourself from doing everything at once. You do not change KTH in the blink of an eye".

* JMLA = Gender equality, diversity and equal treatment manager

More about the school's work with JML

Text: Ulrika Georgsson