Sweden’s Gender Equality Champions in Tech, Part 1


För svenska, se nedan

Welcome to the #GETBlog! This blog is a collaboration between news site NyTeknik (housing the blog), Google (sponsoring the blog) and myself, founder of Equality Inc. I’m a gender equality and diversity expert, and I’ll be writing this blog based on four years of experience helping tech companies improve gender equality and inclusion. I'll be writing this blog every week, and I’m excited to share my knowledge and experience with you and to engage in a positive conversation about this topic. First things first. When I say “gender equality,” I mean equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities for people identifying as women and men. Men are an important part of gender equality, and I hope that the readership of this blog will be both women and men.

I’m starting this blog off by going through a list of the Swedish tech industry’s gender equality champions. I’m doing this because firstly, I want to summarize what’s going on in this area, and secondly, I want to give credit and a big thumbs-up to the people, organizations and groups that have been working really hard for years to improve gender equality in tech. Also, I want to show you how hot this area is right now. So much is happening, in fact, that I originally thought this would only be one blog post, but since there are so many exciting initiatives to cover, I’m actually going to have to split this list into two. The second half will come out next week. If you’d like to nominate someone or an initiative to be included in next week’s blog, you can let me know via the comments below, via our Twitter hashtag #GETBlog or via email at

Without further ado, here are my nominations for Sweden’s gender equality champions in tech, in no particular order.

1. Paulina Söderlund – Board Member, Entrepreneur, Digital Expert, former Program Editor Webbdagarna, former Project Manager Tekla Festival

Paulina has been passionate about gender equality in tech for a long time. One of her most impressive feats of 2015 was to increase the speaker gender ratio at InternetWorld’s Webbdagarna to 50/50 men and women.  As Program Editor, she managed to do this at all of their conferences: Public sector, Gothenburg, Växjö, Stockholm and Malmö. In addition, Paulina contributes with a gender perspective in the Minister of IT’s Digital Commission’s Expert Group, which she’ll continue doing in 2016. To top it all off, she was also Project Manager for the Tekla Festival, the Royal Institute of Technology’s tech festival for girls aged 11 to 18, which will be repeated again this April. This event is helping to solve the early stages of tech’s pipeline problem, which relates to getting a good gender balance in tech-related classes even before high school, and in high school.

2. Sara Fritzon – Chair of the Board, Geek Girl Meetup IF, and her fellow Geek Girl Meetup IF Board Members (not all Board Members are shown here)

Geek Girl Meetup was founded in 2008 by Heidi Harman and Andie Nordgren. In 2013, it became a non-profit called Geek Girl Meetup IF. It’s been an important meeting point for anyone who identifies as a woman working in tech since its beginning. Geek Girl UK defines Geek Girls as “passionate women working in tech, design and startups.” The Geek Girl Meetup IF has been working proactively to increase gender equality in tech, and they’ve certainly succeeded in lifting and creating more role models in tech. The Geek Girl concept has also now expanded internationally to Germany, Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, Tunisia, the UK, the US and Mexico. In May 2015, Geek Girl Meetup IF hosted 200 Geek Girls at their annual un-conference at Tekniska Museet. In addition, they’ve hosted other interesting events and networking opportunities, such as “Debugging the gender gap in tech” with SUP46 in November 2015. Geek Girl has been an important force not only in Sweden, but also internationally, for gender equality in tech.

3. Isabelle Norman – Chair of the Board, DataTjej (Data Girl); Sofia Siljeholm, Project Manager DataTjej Conference 2016 (not pictured), and their fellow DataTjej Board Members.

DataTjej is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote women of all ages who are interested in the area of IT and data. They organize activities and events including a yearly conference, which will be held on January 28-30, 2016 in Lund, and will host 100 women. Conference registration unfortunately closed November 15, but those who are interested in DataTjej can join for free. Below, you’ll also see how DataTjej is heavily engaged in mentorship programs for younger students, which is incredibly important in solving tech’s early-stage pipeline problem.

4. Womengineer’s founders: Emelie Emanuelsson  and Marie Ideström

Womengineer is a non-profit organization working for a very clear goal: that in 2030 there are the same amount of women and men graduating as engineers in Sweden. According to SCB, 4 out of 5 of people holding degrees in engineering in Sweden are men. (SCB 2010, Könsstruktur per utbildning, 1990-2030) In the youngest age group of engineers, the number of female degree holders is 28%, and 72% men. Since 2008, Womengineer has been steadily campaigning to increase the percentage of girls entering engineering programs by featuring many blogs by women in technical engineering programs, interviews with women studying engineering, which are searchable by fields and university, showing links to the technical schools in Sweden, and by constantly being featured in the media and news. One of the most important initatives of Womengineer is the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day for girls 12-19 years old, which is happening on March 18, 2016.

5. Fredrik Wass – Senior Advisor, Intellecta Corporate, Blogger,, Di Digital and Resumé, previously a tech journalist

Fredrik Wass is a blogger who has been talking about gender equality in tech, both in the US and in Sweden, for a very long time. His most recent blog on the topic,”Why we should continue to measure gender” laid out some very valid points about why seeing gender equality as a positive factor in tech and entrepreneurship is extremely important. Another one of his articles from 2015, about the lack of gender equality in VC funding for startups, should be required reading for all VCs who will be discussing funding on panels. Finally, his blogs about gender equality in media coverage are important because they show us that media is still very much lacking in gender equality. Last but certainly not least, he’s introduced us to this great new service, Genews, that measures the representation of women and men in media.

6. Fredrik von Essen – Head of Next Up Competition, IT&Telekomföretagen, Almega

Next Up is an IT competition that was started in 2014 to increase interest in tech among 8th graders. In 2016, it’s taking place in two areas in Sweden: Stockholm and West, starting in January and ending in March. The competition involves solving a case designed by tech companies like Ericsson and IFS, among others. The participating classes work together on the cases and then receive feedback on their work from IT pros and entrepreneurs. The winning classes from each area receive 10,000 SEK. Previous cases have involved, for instance, social media and the environment. By having team leaders from Datatjej (listed above), who support and coach the students from each competition area, the students automatically meet female role models in tech. This encourages students, both female and male, to see tech as an interesting place to work in their future careers, and as such, supports gender equality in the early-stage tech pipeline. Next Up is currently looking for partners for its 2017 initiative.

7. TechEq

TechEq is an initiative that was originally launched in February 2014 by four main sponsors: Netlight, Tritech, MTGx, and Tieto. The launch day included a conference on gender equality in tech and a launch party, with representatives from many areas of tech. Over 70 companies are listed on the TechEq page, all of which have agreed to work proactively to improve the representation of women and men at their companies, to share knowledge and best practices with other IT companies, and to measure gender equality at all levels and in all departments of the company. Besides the initiative, the twitter feed of the initiative has been a good place to follow to stay updated on gender equality in tech via the hashtag #techeq.

8. Diversi – for diversity in gaming 

Diversi is a non-profit organization and network working for greater diversity in gaming at companies, schools and universities, and in gaming communities. They do this by spreading knowledge through their website, and by organizing projects, meetups and events. They’ve started a twitter hashtag, #gamediversity, linked to a petition supporting equality and diversity in gaming. The list currently has nearly 1600 signatures from gamers all over the world. The local Diversi meetups can be found on the website, and they’re currently located in Malmö, Skövde, Stockholm and Visby.

9. Anurag Choudhary – Executive Director, Tie Nordic: Stockholm Investing in Women Meetup

Stockholm Investing In Women Meetup  brings together successful entrepreneurs, investors and upcoming women-led high growth startups in Stockholm. Its focus is to create a platform to showcase female role models and an inclusive meeting place for individuals, businesses to connect, collaborate, inspire and invest. The Stockholm Investing in Women Meetup has taken place every year from 2013-2015, and there will be another in 2016.

10. Annie Thorell – Founder, Faces of Tech; Frontend Developer; Mentor

Annie Thorell is a person who is extremely passionate about gender equality in tech. As a coder with years of experience in multiple start-ups, she’s actively mentored younger women developers through Netlight’s the Code Pub (which will be featured in Part 2 of this post), including one she hosted at Wrapp just before Christmas. She founded Faces of Tech, a Facebook group encouraging more diversity and gender equality in the tech industry, which has also hosted events encouraging diversity in tech.

Svenska Jämställdhetsmästare i teknik-branschen, Del 1

Välkommen till GET-bloggen! Den här bloggen är ett samarbete mellan nyhetssajten NyTeknik (där bloggen finns), Google (som sponsrar bloggen) och mig, grundare av Equality Inc. Jag är en jämställdhets- och mångfaldsexpert, och jag kommer att skriva den här bloggen baserat på mina fyra års erfarenhet av att hjälpa tech-företag att förbättra jämställdhet och inkludering. Bloggen kommer att publiceras varje vecka.

Jag är glad över att kunna dela min kunskap och erfarenhet med dig, och att engagera till ett positivt samtal om detta ämne.

När jag säger "jämställdhet" menar jag lika rättigheter, möjligheter och skyldigheter för personer som identifierar som kvinnor och män. Män är en viktig del av jämställdhet, och jag hoppas att läsekretsen av denna blogg kommer att vara både kvinnor och män.

Jag inleder GET-bloggen med att göra en lista över den svenska teknikindustrins jämställdhetsmästare. Det gör jag för det första för att sammanfatta vad som händer inom detta område, och för det andra vill jag visa uppskattning och en stor tumme upp för de människor, organisationer och grupper som har arbetat stenhårt i många år för att förbättra jämställdhet inom  tech.

Jag vill också visa dig hur hett det här området är just nu. Det händer så mycket att det här blogginlägget kommer bli två i stället för ett, som jag ursprungligen hade tänkt. Det finns så pass många spännande initiativ att täcka.

Den andra halvan kommer nästa vecka. Ovanför ser du mina nomineringar för Sveriges jämställdhetsmästare i teknikbranschen, utan särskild ordning.

Om du vill nominera någon eller något initiativ som du tycker ska tas med i nästa veckas blogg, kan du skriva i kommentarerna nedan, via vår Twitter hashtag #GETBlog eller via e-post,