Audio description: Campus Lindholmen

Genie | Gender Initiative for Excellence

Through concrete changes of the academic culture, system and procedures together with strategic recruitments, we aim towards equal gender balance within the faculty. We invest SEK 300 million over ten years on gender equality work to make Chalmers more successful.

Background and motive

Like other technical universities, Chalmers has a very low proportion of women in its faculty. However, research shows that a more even gender balance leads to greater scientific success and a better working environment, for both men and women. As a strategy to become more excellent, Chalmers aims to increase the proportion of women among its faculty.

Overall goals 

The overall goals of the project: 

  • Increase the proportion of female faculty. 
  • Remove the structural and cultural obstacles that hamper women’s careers.  
  • Create a working environment that is diverse and inclusive and supportive of excellence in research and teaching.

Scope 

The initiative is funded by the Chalmers University of Technology Foundation and has a budget of SEK 300 million over the course of ten years. It was launched on 1 January 2019 and run through 2028. As far as Chalmers knows, this is by far the largest individual investment in gender equality made by any university.

Content 

Genie mainly consists of two parts: gender equality certification, including concrete and tailored action plans, to achieve long-term cultural and structural change, and direct support aimed at achieving excellence through gender balance.

Gender equality certification 

Gender equality certification efforts will be inspired by the Athena SWAN system in the UK. The work includes analysing culture, systems and processes in each department. Statistics divided into men and women will be used to identify and address imbalances. Genie’s management will provide each department’s leadership group with tailor-made activities that aim to increase gender equality.

Increase the proportion of women 

A substantial part of Genie’s budget will be used for direct recruitment of top female researchers. The top female researchers will not only strengthen Chalmers with their research, they will also be important role models. Heads of Departments can submit proposals for direct recruitments to Genie’s management. All recruitments at Chalmers will be preceded by a substantial effort to identify fields that produce an excellent, gender balanced group of applicants.

Work has started

The project is running from 1 January 2019 and during the first few months initial plans and activities will be developed. Several activities, such as seminars, are planned for the spring to raise awareness and knowledge on gender equality issues. Calls for funding of internal projects that aim to contribute in creating a more gender-balanced environment will also be announced, as well as a visiting researchers programme.

Contact person

Management group 

Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor, Biology and Biological Engineering 
Mary Sheeran, Professor, Computer Science and Engineering 
Anders Karlström, Professor and Head of Department, Electrical Engineering

Genie events

15 May 13:00: Laura Ettinger: "What Pioneering American Women Engineers Tell Us: Choices and Challenges in Context"
Welcome to attend a seminar with Laura Ettinger, associate professor of history at Clarkson University, where she presents her research about the pioneering American women who went into engineering in the 1970s, earning undergraduate degrees. What challenges did they identify, what solutions do they propose, and what recommendations does Laura Ettinger and her research team make based on this research for greater gender inclusivity in engineering? Read more and register​

Articles about Genie on Chalmers websites and in other media
‘Largest’ investment by a university in gender equality (University World News, April 2019)
 Liisa Husu: "There's no quick fix for gender equality (Chalmers Insidan, March 2019)

Published: Fri 11 Jan 2019. Modified: Tue 23 Apr 2019