2016-06-02 17:02 CEST
The Minister of Enterprise can’t define what diversity and inclusion stands for. He knows it’s important and that the state-owned enterprises have gotten the task to create objectives and plans in this area. However, if he doesn’t know what diversity and inclusion really stands for, how can he then follow up and secure their work? And has it really no importance in the work of the government?.......
2016-05-28 05:12 CEST
2016-05-28 05:12 CEST
Sunday is Mother’s day in Sweden and what better time than this to reflect over equal parental leave. On average men only take a fourth of the parental benefit days ("föräldrapenningdagarna"). The most common reason is said to be the finances. Another one that men don’t want to take parental leave or if they do it’s rather disguised vacation spent......
2016-03-29 10:13 CEST
2016-03-08 23:00 CET
In context of work I’ve never considered it to be better or worse to be a woman. I’ve never felt the need to stand on the barricades defending the "women's rights" or supporting movements such as "Women can" or gender based quotas. I firmly believe - even today - that people should be evaluated and appointed based on their skill set and experience. .....
2016-06-02 17:02 CET
Today I was in a breakfast meeting with the Swedish Minister for Innovation and Enterprise, Mikael Damberg. Mikael realize the importance of everyone in Sweden having the opportunity to work. In general his road to get there seems to be to create a good business climate which creates more job opportunities as well as providing education to ensure the people are qualified for the jobs. This isn't wrong, but it's missing a vital aspect.
Mikael seems to somewhat understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in making companies competitive and successful over time. As the responsible minister for state-owned enterprises, he’s given the company boards the responsibility of creating goals in diversity and sustainability as well as plans of how to reach them.
However, Mikael lacks the knowledge of what diversity and inclusion really stand for. How can he then follow up and secure the work of the state-owned enterprises in this area?
Mikael also claims that diversity and inclusion play no part of the work of the government, but this work is belonging to the companies. It sounds strange that the government would abstain from maximizing the outcome of their work. It also seems logical that inclusion would be an important aspect to keep the government united, secure efficiency and reach results – especially in a minority government.
It's time for our Minister of Enterprise to do his homework and create a better understanding of diversity and inclusion. This is, of course, to secure that work and business possibilities are for everyone in Sweden. But mainly to secure that Swedish businesses are staying competitive and successful over time.
Mikael is lucky. Mångfaldsakademien as well as Företagarna in Solna are willing and able in helping him to gain a better understanding also in diversity and inclusion.
Mikael, thank you for an interesting meeting earlier today. I'm looking forward to hear from you to discuss further!
2016-05-28 05:12 CEST
Children learn by what we do, not by what we say. I don't remember if we ever talked about specific values at home when I was growing up. I however remember what and how we learned "normal" behavior.
An example; When I was a kid we often had visits from the local alcoholics ("A-team"). We always used to jokingly call them "mum's buddies". We understood that they were not really mum's buddies in the literal sense, but they came by because she was a doctor. But we treated them the same way we did with her other friends; When they called at the door we went to get our mum just like we did when her other friends came by. She in turn talked with them in a friendly and respectful way just like she did with her other friends. So even if they were not her real friends, it was obvious that you should treat them the same way! We never laughed or made fun of them. We could however at times make fun of our mum because of her choice of friends just like we made fun of each other because of another normal thing in our life. In retrospective, I realize that we should rather have praised her. Because she taught us that all people should be treated in a friendly and respectful way, regardless of background or social situation.
I also learned that you don’t need to be afraid about different. That different in itself isn’t anything dangerous. Mum usually flagged down a neighbor to give the person a ride back. Thereby I understood that even if the person was and behaved differently, it wasn’t the same as the person was a dangerous or bad person. Because in that case she hadn’t asked the neighbor to get into the same car as the individual.
I learned from my mum that all individuals have equal value regardless of how they look or if they behave differently from me and my surroundings. This is an extremely valuable learning that I’ve had with me all my life. Thanks Mum! I hope that you’ll have a really nice Mother’s Day and that you think how you through your words and actions have helped us kids to have a sound and respectful view of the individual.
2016-05-28 05:12 CEST
Sunday is Mother’s day in Sweden and what better time than this to reflect over equal parental leave.
On average men only take a fourth of the parental benefit days (föräldrapenningdagarna). The most common reason is said to be the finances. Another one that men don’t want to take parental leave or if they do it’s rather disguised vacation spent doing other things. That is, focus is on the men painted as the “bad guys” and the system which slows the transition to a more equal parental leave.
Are the perceived truths really true? Are these the determining factors – really?
Stockholm University made an interesting study1 where they examined four "truths” about how men use their parental leave in comparison to women. It was concluded that three of the four allegations were completely untrue. Just like the women, men are spending their parental leave with their kids (not to hunt, watch World Cup etc), they take the same proportion of parental leave days as parental benefit days (föräldrapenningdagarna) and as many take parental leave in connection with vacation. The fourth allegation was however partially true; half of the fathers take occasional days rather than a longer leave. That is, not all the men are “bad guys”, but half the men are at par with the mothers in caring for the kids.
Why is it so that half of the men don’t take a bigger role in caring for the kids? Försäkringskassan made a report2 where they analyzed what factors are increasing the probability of a more equal parental leave (föräldrapenninguttag). It was concluded that high education and high income are the most important factors, but this is still not fully explaining the current situation.
If you look further into statistics and surveys it seems like the finances are not a true reason but it’s rather the tradition, attitudes and the norms of the society which are driving the development towards equal parental leave. Or rather, holding it back.
But is it really primarily the men who are holding back the development towards equal parental leave? Are they really the “bad guys”? Or could it be that the women have more of the solution in their hands than what’s normally being claimed?
I can understand if there would be an outcry to this line of questioning, but let us still consider if there could be additional “truths”.
After the birth the woman is full of hormones which drive her to secure the care and protect the small child from everything and everybody. Could it be so that the woman in her sleep deprived eagerness shut the man out from participating?
Could it be so that the woman early on is weaving her own cocoon of work processes and logistical set-ups in the home to simplify her everyday life during the first difficult months, which drives the man to not feel included and he therefore begins to estrange himself from this environment? (Which is a natural reaction if you feel excluded.)
Could it be so that the women feels insecure returning to their work since they have been away a long time and they no longer know what it takes to be part of the group (especially now when they have kids), so therefore they choose the security to stay longer where they feel at home (=continued parental leave) rather than exposing themselves to this new unknown situation? (Which is a natural choice if you find yourself in an unknown situation.)
How often do women tell other women that they should take the opportunity to stay home with the kids as long as possible because you are never able to get these early years with the kids back?
How many women get a hard time from other women because they prioritize a work meeting and hence arrive 30 minutes later to the daycare pick-up? (Even if the child is in a great mood and love daycare.)
Let’s also turn it around. Could it be so that women are more driven to return to work as soon as possible if they enjoy their work, their colleagues and managers? But if they don’t like it, then they are more inclined to stay home a longer time with the kids?
Maybe these are just empty questions. Maybe there’s no truth in this. Maybe it’s only I who have noticed this in my circle of friends and at work. Maybe it’s only I who have seen how fathers really have to fight early on to really get a natural place in the life of the kids (and not only the part which the mothers decide to hand over to them). Maybe it’s only I who notice that the women who leave the maternity leave early are the ones who really like their jobs and want to return to their colleagues and managers as soon as possible.
Of course old attitudes and values are still predominant. Of course also the finances are impacting the decision within the family. Of course the opinion and values of the men are having an impact. However, could there also be other truths which are having an impact – really?
1 Föräldraledighetspusslet: Längd, delning och turtagning under barnets första två år. Helen Eriksson, Stockholm University Demography Unit, 2015-05-20.
2 De jämställda föräldrarna, Försäkringskassan, 2013-08.
2016-03-29 10:13 CEST
In an interview in driva-eget.se, Sara Skullered provides five reasons why it’s important to have diversity in a company.
You can find the full article here.
2016-03-08 23:00 CET
I've always thought it's fantastic to be a woman. For example, it’s a good card to play if you need help. Especially in situations traditionally considered as ‘men’s area'. I’m great at changing tires. Yet the same thing happens every time I’ve got a flat tire; I barely have time to open the trunk before a random man approaches and offers to change the tire for me. 'Oh, it’s not necessary...' I usually say. Just to say something - because of course I let them do the work. It’s super handy!!
In context of work I’ve never considered it to be better or worse to be a woman. I’ve never felt the need to stand on the barricades defending the "women's rights" or supporting movements such as "Women can" or gender based quotas. I firmly believe - even today - that people should be evaluated and appointed based on their skill set and experience.
Over time I’ve however come to realize that there’re two main challenges in regards to this; It doesn’t matter how much expertise and experience you have if the decision making person isn’t aware of it or if the person doesn’t put enough importance to the specific skill or experience. Sometimes both of these factors go together. That is, it’s about how visible you are as a person and how visible the thing you do is. And it depends how different kind of skill set and experience are being valued.
A classic situation is that you’re very good at what you do and you don’t make any big deal of it, because you are "only" doing your job. Great! Or is it? Often a person like that will be overlooked (also during wage discussions and promotion considerations). Function and person are easily forgotten, because everything works.
There’s also a tendency to give more important tasks to the people you know are doing a good job, ie to the ones who are visible. Or maybe rather; To the ones you see. This creates a self-fulfilling spiral where the people you see get the more important tasks and therefore become more visible etc.
Obviously this applies to all people, not just women.
There’s a tradition in the former Soviet Union that employers are gifting all female employees with a rose on the International Women's Day. Personally, I think all employers on this day should take time to review their organization; Do their perception of the skill set of the different employees match with the real skill set? Do they utilize the full potential of all employees in the company? If the answer is yes to both questions, then you are well deserved to gift yourself with a big bouquet of flowers.
If however you’re not sure about the answer, then you could give a rose to all the employees - regardless of sex - who are affected. Not to provide some empty encouragement, but to show that you as an employee recognize your shortcomings. Feel free to add a card saying “We recognize that we can improve in using your skills and experience. We promise to work on this during next year.” To ensure that you stand by this promise, you can save some thorns to constantly be reminded that before this is rectified, the company will be drained of money as well as efficiency, utility and expertise.
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