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-One third of the doctoral students in the research environment Production Technology are women. More and more women are doing research or taking a third cycle programme in the field every year. This is a very positive development both for our research environment and the entire technology industry, says Per Nylén, director of the research group Production Technology West at University West.

Globala målen fokus jämställdhet

Production technology West, PTW, is one of University West's research environments.

- More women applying to our research environment brings many advantages, says Per. Women have long been underrepresented in production technology. With a more even distribution between women and men, we get a better work environment.

Gender equality - a measure of quality

Since 2017, all higher education institutions in Sweden have been commissioned to work with gender mainstreaming - which is Sweden's main strategy for achieving the gender equality policy goals for a gender-equal society. The very idea - and goal - of this work is that gender equality should be a natural part of our processes, where the pursuit of equal conditions between women and men is part of all decision-making.

-Gender equality is both a work environment issue and a measure of quality. The education and research we deliver is  improved by the fact that a diversity of people fits within our organization, says Beatrice Löfström, coordinator of the work with gender mainstreaming at University West.

Lars Svensson, Director of studies for research and third-cycle programmes at University West, explains why gender equality is a measure of quality and thus central to research:

-It is all based on the university's fundamental values. Both women and men must have equal opportunities within the academy. Therefore, we must raise the gender equality perspective in all our decisions and review processes in research and third-cycle programmes more consciously and actively than we do today.

-But it is not only the processes themselves that are important. If we have some form of underlying bias, it also affects the output of the research, i.e. the quality of the research results we deliver from the university.

Back to Per Nylén:

Why are there now more women at Production Technology West?

-I think it's about there being role models in the research environment and in the organisation. The fact that we have more women with us, I think, inspires even more women.

How do you make the doctoral students want to develop internally and take academic steps?

-We want more women to make an academic career. It is very much a management issue to encourage, provide conditions and to make visible the career paths that exist. Creating a completely equal environment within the academy is a long-term task. As there are more women, they do not have to embrace the existing culture, but they are involved in creating other, new, values.

-It is important that we show benefits and opportunities when we recruit. Showing female role models is important, showing that it is possible to combine an academic career with family life. It can be difficult to combine if it is not equal in the home. But you should not be required to work 60 hours a week. The culture must change within the academy.

Distribution of research funds

How research funding is distributed is an important factor in achieving equal research.

-Investments in, for example, sustainability, gender equality, collaboration, lifelong learning and internationalization must be rewarded. Equal career paths and equal distribution of research funding are important for University West today and in the future.

Read more about Agenda 2030 and the global goals here (In Swedish)