NordWit presenting at Vitalis 2020

Svenska mässan
Svenska Mässan, Gothenburg

Vitalis is a yearly event in Gothenburg, and presents itself as the Nordic region’s leading eHealth meeting. At Vitalis, people from municipalities, regions, authorities, companies and academia meet to discuss the challenges and solutions of the future in healthcare. This year NordWit will be presenting a study on managers and the implementation of patient accessible electronic health records in different regions in Sweden. NordWit’s Åsa Cajander and Hilde Corneliussen has been working with the study together with Gunilla Myreteg and Kari Dyb.  The presentation will be part of a session on health care professional’s perspectives and will take place on Monday the 5th of May 14-14.30. The session is organised in collaboration with INERA who coordinates eHealth in Sweden. 

In the presentation we will present different implementations strategies used in five different regions in Sweden when patient accessible electronic health records were implemented, and discuss how gender is perceived to have played a role in the work. In our study we interviewed fourteen different leaders in the implementation process, and the questions ranged from how they perceived the implementation to how they experience that gender plays a role in their work.

Åsa Cajander

 

Workshop Re-thinking Research and Innovation: How Does Gender Matter?

February 25-27, the workshop Re-thinking Research and Innovation: How Does Gender Matter? was held at the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University. Oganized by our Nordwit coordinator Gabriele Griffin and funded by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, it gathered together researchers from the Nordwit centre, the Innovation network in South of Sweden and also researchers outside Scandinavia. The 11 presentations and lively discussions mapped out the breath of the scattered field of gender in research and innovation and elaborated the concepts and some of the key themes both at the academic and the entrepreneurial end of the field.

Gabriele Griffin, Felizitas Sagebiel, and Marja Vehviläinen examined the gendered practices at the academic end of research and innovation. Griffin and Vehviläinen discussed the relatively new, multidisciplinary research fields digital humanities and health technologies which often exist in atypical formations such as centres rather than disciplines in academia. Sagebiel analysed the gendering effects of current peer reviewing practices. Clem Herman’s talk took us to the gendered practices of UK academe as exemplified by the Open University, and in particular to the educational innovations that they have developed to educate the next generation of innovators with competences in diversity and gendered innovations as part of the curriculum. Liisa Husu’s talk on the practices of Funding Agencies, and specifically the study of the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, illuminated how gender equality is understood in funding institutions and how those aim to pursue gender equality in Sweden and more broadly in Europe.

Then, Susanne Andersson and Karin Berglund, in collaboration with Katarina Petterson, took us to the entrepreneur and private enterprise end of innovations and both gave brilliant case studies of embodied and located innovations. Susanne Anderson introduced the notion of ‘alternative/unexpected users’ that she has used in her norm-critical user analysis with private company innovations. Zehra Sayed further opened up innovation work within the complexity of the intersecting relations of gender, class and caste. These revealed in particular the separation of bodily and cognitive aspects of innovation work in India.

Hilde Corneliussen and Magdalena Petersson McIntyre focused on gender and feminist understandings in innovation, Corneliussen by opening the notion of the gender paradox through a study on women who work in ICT in Norway, and Petersson McIntyre by analysing gender consultants. Minna Leinonen presented action research on gender equality with regional stakeholders in research and innovation. Both gender consultants and regional stakeholders aim for a change in gender relations. The ‘business case’ of gender equality, discussed in these two papers, was discussed vividly: it is integrated with gender consultants’ work in the form of market feminisms, and both gender consultants and regional stakeholders aim to have gains (what’s in it for me?) through gender and gender equality. Our workshop challenged the notion of profit-only gains and argued for different ways of thinking about ‘profit’ such as social justice and sustainability – both of which ultimately also impact on profit.

Gendered and gendering innovation was discussed in many presentations. Griffin concluded that the properties ascribed to innovation are the same as the properties ascribed to women/the feminine. They both are about difference, about change and disruption. This provides opportunities for feminist work on innovation. Berglund and Petterson continued the conceptual analysis by linking innovation with the dangerous. They discussed doing and thinking about innovation differently at micro and individual levels, as evolving practices, embodied, located to place, experimental, playing with the rules of the game, contemplative, caring, ethical, and following Levinas, embracing passivity as a way of providing space for the other.

Marja Vehviläinen

Workshops on gender in research and innovation have started

people-coffee-meeting-team-7096

We are living exciting times in the Finnish Nordwit team: during the winter and spring 2020 we are organizing a series of workshops for promoting gender equality in research and innovation in one of the research-intensive regions in Finland. The regional development agency, university (including Marja Vehviläinen and myself from the Nordwit team) and the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment are collaborating on organizing the workshops and we have already organized one on the current state of gender equality in the regional research and innovation activities. There is also national interest in the process, since the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is participating the planning and realization of the workshops.

The workshop started with presentations on gendered careers in technology, gender in research and innovation, gender equality in academia and gender and regional development.  The workshop was also a platform for joint discussions: One of the main arguments was that gender relevance should be made visible for different stakeholders and that we need to create ways – as financers, government officials, researchers, entrepreneurs and others – to recognize gender relevance and ideally tie it to regional aims and needs.

The future workshops will take a closer look at how gender equality could be more strongly incorporated into the research and innovation activities by considering gender aspects of financed projects and the whole innovation ecosystem. The specifics of those workshops are under ongoing planning, since each workshop is informed by the previous one(s). Local tools for promoting gender equality and best practices are themes likely to stay on the agenda throughout the workshop series.

Minna Leinonen

Gender, Work and Organization

The Gender, Work and Organization Conference, held at Kent University 24-26 June this year, is now open for registration.

Nordwit will be well represented at this event. Hilde Corneliussen and Minna Salminen Karlsson from Nordwit are running a stream on “Rural Frontiers In-between Tradition and Change: Gender, Work and Organization in Rural Contexts”, and other Nordwit members are giving papers in a range of streams.

It’s going to be an exciting event!

Gabriele Griffin

What does innovation look like?

What does innovation look like? I’m in Santiago in Chile at a workshop at the Catholic University discussing the co-production of gender and knowledge norms. At the entrance of their San Joaquim campus is this amazing bunker-like building – the Innovation building. It looks quite forbidding, the outside seems both very closed off and somehow un-in-viting. It is not clear if you are meant to enter. It represents the very opposite of what I associate with innovation: openness, networking, fluidity. Instead it appears static, quasi-brutalist in style, and highly masculinized. The interior is in many ways not much different: closed-off blocks of wood-and-glass cabinets, a sort of display unit. And on the outside of course – since this is the Catholic University and hence predictably full of depictions of religious figures, is the figure of Jesus pointing. So what is the relation between religion and creativity, or maybe between religion and creation? The connection here is made partly through the monumentalism, partly through the colour – all grey. Is this how we imagine innovation?

Gabriele Griffin

Call for submissions to EASST/4S Prague 2020

EASST4S

The next EASST/4S conference (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology + Society for Social Studies of Science) will be held in Prague 18-21 August 2020. The theme is “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds,” looking back at the major shifts in the past years that create feelings of urgency, unease and confusion.

Nordwit will be represented in the section “Gender/Sexuality/Feminist STS” with the open panel Old Academics and Emerging Worlds: Feminist Encounters in Changing STS Contexts, and we warmly invite you to submit papers to this panel!

The due date is 29 Feb and you are asked to produce a 250-word abstract.

Read more about the panel below, or visit the website for more information on how to apply.

125. Old Academies and Emerging Worlds: Feminist Encounters in Changing STS Contexts

Gabriele Griffin, Uppsala University; Marja Vehviläinen, Tampere University

The notion of emerging worlds is frequently associated with the global South, so-called ‘third world’ countries, and dys- or utopian imaginaries. This – at times conveniently – ignores the fact that academies in the global North harbour within them emerging worlds in the form of emerging disciplines, through the impact of technologization on data and knowledge production, and through the changing socio-political and economic contexts in which these academies operate. STS itself constitutes an emerging world in that its methods and objects of study have changed significantly over time and continue to do so.

In this panel we explore the gendered dis/continuities arising from academies engaging with the emerging worlds within them in the form of new disciplines such as Digital Humanities, eHealth, and new forms of research and innovation, which in turn challenge conventional STS through their claims in relation to both science and technology.

We invite contributions on topics such as:

  • How does gender play out in the emerging worlds of new disciplines in old academies?
  • How do emerging disciplines challenge gendered STS epistemologies?
  • How does the meeting of academies from different parts of the world challenge gendered notions of STS knowledge production?
  • What is the impact of the technologization of academic disciplines on the disciplines’ genderization?
  • What is the relation between emerging disciplines, gender, and STS?
  • How are notions of gender in the academy impacted by emerging disciplines?
  • How does STS relate to the issue of gender relative to feminism?

Contact: gabriele.griffin@gender.uu.se

Keywords: emerging disciplines, gendered innovations, feminist interventions, technologization

 

 

Have things changed during the 2010s?

photo-of-2020-on-pink-background-3401900

Now that 2019 is coming to an end, it is not only a year but a whole decade we can look back to. When it comes to women in technology – has any progress been made? Statistics Sweden provides easily accessible statistics on a general level. If we compare 2009 and 2018 or 2019 (depending on how fresh statistics are provided) we can see that:

The percentage of women taking the advanced master of engineering (civilingenjör) degree has actually gone up some: from 28% in 2009 till 35% in 2019. However, the percentage of women taking a bachelor of engineering (högskoleingenjör) has remained almost the same (28% to 27%). It seems that those women who decide to go into technology are those who have good theoretical skills and prefer the office, rather than what can be perceived as technology work closer to practical implications.

Another table, which does not give the exams achieved each year, but the educational level in the population in numbers, shows that the working age population having higher education in “technology and production” has increased with 25% during the last decade. Women have increased their numbers with 50%, compared to men’s 20%. When only looking at the younger workforce (up to 44 years), both men and women born abroad increase their numbers at a much higher rate than native born Swedes. In particular the women born abroad seem to have detected technology. Compared to 2009, there are now 75% more women born abroad with a technical education. Even men born abroad increasingly acquire technical education, their numbers have gone up 60% in ten years. So, the rescue for our dearth of engineers may come from what are commonly perceived as the suburban immigrant ghettos.

How about the salaries? In October 2019, our media reported that newly examined female masters of engineering now had lower first salaries than their male peers – after several years of closing the gender pay gap, it seems that it was widening again. That development does not (yet?) show in the salary statistics available from Statistics Sweden. There, female engineers almost invariably have earned and continue to earn about 86-92% of the salaries of their male colleagues. However, it seems that among graduates from new, more transdisciplinary engineering programmes, as well as biotechnology, the gender pay gap is diminishing.

While the 2010’s seem not to have been that bad for technology, still another table in Statistics Sweden gives me, as a citizen, worried creases on my forehead. Here, employers tell whether the competence pool for their needs is sufficient or not. While 19% of employers in 2009 told that there was a lack of newly examined engineers, the percentage had risen to 45% in 2019. Obviously, we need more engineers. However, we need healthcare staff even more: 76% of those who employ nurses told that there is a dearth of newly examined nurses. And the situation does not seem to improve: while the number of people with a degree in technology has increased with 25% in ten years, the number of people with a degree in healthcare has increased only by 17%.

As a Nordwit project member, I’m all for improving the gender balance and women’s working conditions in technology. As a citizen, dependent on our Scandinavian publicly financed healthcare, I’m very thankful that not all the women (and men) follow the calls to become engineers and work with technology, but that some also choose to work with the immediate welfare of the citizens. Technology should and could be more attractive to more women – but this aim needs to be balanced by making different care professions more attractive to men. Technical inventions and economic growth  are not enough to create well-fare.

Minna Salminen Karlsson

Re-Thinking Research and Innovation: How Does Gender Matter?

you-x-ventures-4-iZ147pSAE-unsplash

This is the question we will be tackling at the Riksbanken funded workshop we shall be running on 25-27 February 2020. In our Nordwit Centre’s work, we have been addressing this question for some time, and it has also been at the heart of discussions in the Gender and Innovation Network in Sweden of which we are a part. So we are truly delighted that Riksbankens Jubileumsfond has given us the money to explore this issue further.

The genderization of research and innovation has many dimensions. For one thing, it includes the wholly under-researched poor completion rates for female doctoral students in the Nordic countries – e.g. according to the Higher Education in Sweden Report 2018, of 2009 female PhD study entrants only 23% of female Humanities PhDs had completed their PhDs after 5 years. These women who are the potential future researchers and innovators seriously lag behind but we don’t know why. And this is just one very small dimension of the question of gender in research and innovation. So roll on 2020!

Gabriele Griffin

Can we afford to lose skillful scientists?

In academia, we must have all heard about the research visits that did not go so well. One of my former colleagues said that he spend most of his year in a highly ranked North-American university alone in a cleaning cupboard that was transformed into an office. He felt desperately homesick but since he was able to write an article with the famous professor from the hosting institute, the visit was “successful”. Though the science politics in Nordic countries emphasize the importance of academic mobility, many academics find it hard to move for longer time to live in a foreign country.

In their study on Finnish physicists, Kristiina Rolin and Jenni Vainio (2011) show how mobility seems to be easier for men than women. However, when I talked about this issue with Nordic and Baltic young academics in their joint workshop in March, also men said that this demand is difficult, and if you (plan to) have children the best time for mobility is when your partner is on parental leave. In Nordic countries both parents work, and though the working life seems to be becoming more flexible in many sectors, it is still hard for partners of academic researchers to move their work to another country for several months or years. A situation is of course even more complicated if the parents have separated. Some of the interviewed women from biotechnology, whose children were born during their research visit, said that they could manage only because their own parents were able to travel and help with the childcare. Mobility is thus also an economic question.

One of the main reasons why our interviewees have left academia is, according to themselves, the lack of international mobility. Since in life sciences, medicine and technology the (only) way to continue academic researcher career is by establishing one’s own research group, and funding for this requires longer-term mobility experience, the interviewees felt that they do not have a future in academia. One of them said that “after you’ve turned 40 there is nothing but blackness ahead,” and she was sad that universities have chosen to give up the expertise of talented scientists who could work as independent senior researchers. Despite the lack of longer-term mobility, all of our interviewees had strong and vast international networks, they participated in conferences, they had written joint publications and research plans.

The international collaboration can be scientifically fruitful but in the time of digitalization, climate catastrophe, versatile family situations and everyone making their careers, the Nordic science politics must change and acknowledge all kinds of collaboration, both international and national as equally significant. In small countries like Finland, we cannot afford to lose any motivated and skillful scientists.

Tiina Suopajärvi

Reference
Rolin, K. & Vainio, J. (2011). Gender in Academia in Finland: Tensions between Policies and Gendering Processes in Physics Departments. Science & Technology Studies, 24(1), 26–46.

Wearable technologies

Wearables
Wearables at Workplace (www.womenofwearables.com)

Women of Wearables tells us that ‘Wearables at Work Next Big Thing’. Much is made of the potential safety dimensions (e.g. panic buttons for staff working by themselves) of such wearables, whilst the control dimension, a version of clocking-in and clocking-out, for example, or ‘mood readers’ that tell whether or not an employee is bored or irritated or looking attentive etc. is downplayed. And whilst the size of the potential market is a source of much rejoicing on these web pages, little attention is paid to the resource implications of such devices, from their material costs, in every sense of that phrase, to their energy drainage to the problem regarding waste disposal that is already much discussed regarding smartphones. Ken Loach’s new film Sorry We Missed You looks at the impact of such technologies on workers, in this instance a woman care worker for the elderly and a male delivery driver, whom are compelled to ‘feed’ a smartphone and a ‘proof of delivery device’ (called a gun by the driver) respectively, to fulfil their work requirements. But neither are automata, and their work conditions are disastrous, not just for them, but for their family lives, and for their clients. Especially in the context of care. Brave new world? I don’t think so.

Gabriele Griffin