Sweden's Gender Equality Champions in Tech, Part 2

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Welcome to the second edition of the Gender Equality in Tech Blog! We’ve received so many nominations from #GETBlog readers, and our list of Sweden’s Gender Equality Champions in Tech has grown and grown. We’ve also received a ton of positive feedback, and we’re very glad that this blog has resonated with our readers. It feels like the beginning of a fantastic community!

I’d also like to introduce Serge Lachapelle, who is co-creating this blog with me. He’s been supporting gender equality in tech from behind the scenes for years now in Stockholm on behalf of Google. He’s helped Google co-sponsor Women in Tech and has helped host other events such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. He also came up with the idea for this blog. He and I are going to be brainstorming ideas together for great topics for this blog. I’m writing, and he’s editing. We’re excited, not only because we make a great team, but also because we think that it’s important to have gender balance on the team that’s writing this blog. (Not to say that female-centered approaches do not have their place in gender equality work, as many of the highly successful initiatives below show. More on that next week).

Great things are coming! Don’t forget to let us know if you have any questions, ideas or suggestions that you’d like us to discuss on the blog. We’ve enabled comments on the upper right hand of the blog, we’re on Twitter using the hashtag #GETBlog, and you can always email me at

Speaking of great things, I am blown away by the amount of fantastic initiatives for gender equality in tech in Sweden right now. The below list was only going to be around 10, but after all the nominations from #GETBlog readers, it’s expanded to 20! That means that we’re nominating 30 total champions of gender equality in tech in Sweden. Please keep in mind that this list is in no particular order – we couldn’t bear the thought of ranking these amazing initiatives against each other. This isn’t a competition – it’s a celebration of all of our very hard work for equality in tech. Congratulations to all our Champions!

11. Vibeke Tengroth, Vanja Tufvesson, Tone Pedersen, Founders of Pink Programming

Pink Programming was founded by developers Vibeke, Vanja and Tone, who wanted more female colleagues. They encourage and support women who are interested in programming by hosting camps and meetups that focus on hands-on coding and inspirational talks from women currently working in the industry. So far, they’ve been coding with 250 women. The first event, held in Ystad, spanned 4 days in August 2015. Participants went through the basics of Java programming, combined with social activities and outings. The next event is in Malmö in February - check the Facebook page for dates. Women of all ages are welcome, no prerequisites are required. 

12. Therese Sinter, Chair of the Board, and all Board members, WinIT

WinIT is an initiative started by Sogeti, but which all women currently working in tech in Sweden can join for free. WinIT is the biggest network in Sweden for women working in tech, with over 3500 members in 14 cities in Sweden. I gave a lecture with a colleague at one of the WinITs in Northern Sweden several years ago and it was fantastic to see so many powerful women in tech in one room. There are two events coming up at the beginning of February, one in Luleå and one in Gävle.

Photographer: Gemma Thomson

13. TjejHack

TjejHack is an initiative that is for girls of all ages who love gaming. They arrange clubs, workshops and gaming jams for girls and women in different age groups, create networks, and participate in different organizations promoting equality in gaming. Their volunteers are all women who love gaming, many of whom work with tech, gaming and IT, or study tech-related programs. TjejHack has an event coming up from January 29-31, called Global Game Jam. No experience required and there’s no age limit. Best of all, the event is free due to DICE’s sponsorship!

14. Malvina KTH

Malvina KTH is the women’s network at Sweden’s Royal Insitute of Technology. It has over 1000 members, and is a network of both alumni and current students. Malvina organizes student-run activities like lunches, lectures (like one I gave there) and workshops, many of which help students get in touch with companies. Many Malvina members are already holding leadership roles in tech and gaming companies in Sweden. Malvina also helps organize the Royal Institute of Technology’s Gender Equality Week, featured below.

15. VOSTOK and The Code Pub, Netlight

VOSTOK, inspired by the first woman in space, is the name under which all of Netlight’s gender equality work falls (including TechEq from post #1). The Code Pub (TCP), started in 2013, is a meet-up for women who want to learn about IT and coding. During every session, beginners and experienced coders test a new technique in a fun, easy to follow way. The group currently has 789 hackers in Stockholm, but the network includes over 1400 members in four countries. They hosted monthly meetups throughout the fall, and will continue doing so in 2016. Full disclosure - I’ve held a lecture at Netlight.

16. The 50/50 Club

The 50/50 Club is a network for women in the IT and Telecom industries. (Linkedin link here). Their goal is to achieve 50% women and 50% men in all positions in IT and Telecom. They hold events to network and increase the recruitment of women in IT overall, in management positions, and on boards. Their goal is also to discourage exclusive, and promote inclusive, company cultures. Finally, they also want to increase knowledge about gender equality in the industry.

17. PyLadies Stockholm Meetup Group

PyLadies is an international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. The organization promotes, educates and advances a diverse Python community through outreach, education, conferences, events, and social gatherings. PyLadies Stockholm was founded in 2013, has over 300 members, and has so far had 25 meetups. Their most recent meetup was a Halloween Hackathon in October 2015.

18. Edit Wallin, Founder, the Board of Pepp, and key contributors: Liva Lager, Donna Hanafi, Mariah Strengnell,  Isabella Arningsmark, Katarina Larsson, Emma Olofsson

Pepp, which has the most nominations of any initiative on this blog, is a mentor program for girls in high school who are curious about the tech world or would like to learn more about engineering studies. The mentee is paired with a female mentor from either KTH, Chalmer’s or Umeå University (more universities will be added). The mentee can come from any background and doesn't have to have any prerequisites. The program runs for one year and includes meetups with inspirational speakers and an introduction to a broad network of students and companies. Since its start in 2013, Pepp has engaged over 200 people in Stockholm and Gothenburg. In 2016, Pepp will expand to Umeå as well.

19. Tjejer Kodar (“Girls Code”)

Tjejer kodar was founded six months ago in Stockholm. To feel less handicapped at work, the founders wanted to teach themselves how to code. They had a vague idea of leaving town to focus, bringing a few friends and hiring a teacher to help. They posted the idea online and in less than 12 hours, more than a hundred people had signed up. Today, 40 people have been to their code camps, but several thousand have engaged in the initiative. They’re currently planning a one-week coding trip to Barcelona for 100 women.

20. Sofie Lindblom, Global Innovation Manager at Spotify and board member at Womengineer and Silicon Vikings

Sofie was awarded "IT girl of the year 2014" by Microsoft and gave the TEDx talk "IT girls are the new it girls" in 2015. In a previous role at Spotify, she co-hosted the event Diversify, a hackathon with the goal to be more inclusive and have 50% female attendees. The event was a success and has served as an inspiration for events across the globe. Sofie’s blog post about Diversify was the most read post on the Spotify Labs blog. After posting it, they had universities such as Brown and companies such as Facebook contacting them for advice for their events. Sofie has also been giving talks at high schools about why one should care about math courses and the opportunities you have if you do. She has made changing the stereotype of who is an engineer and what an engineer does her mission in life. Because she doesn’t want women to miss out on any more opportunities just because they think engineers are only middle aged white men in yellow helmets.

21. Olga Stern, Founder,

Olga has been a software developer for 8 years, and she runs, which is a website that measures the gender ratio of all people mentioned in the digital editions of 17 Swedish newspapers for the past 24 hours. (The tool does not count the journalists/authors themselves). By displaying these statistics, Olga is increasing awareness about equality in news coverage, and she’s also providing a tool for newspapers. Olga has been a visible role model in tech by lecturing, and mentoring younger women who want to become coders through the Code pub and Pink Programming. Olga was named as Sweden's 14th best developer in 2015 by IDG.

22. Hello World

The story behind the brand-new non-profit Hello World is about two parents whose son suddenly started programming last autumn, age 12, without any encouragement from them, school or friends. He really got hooked, so his parents started looking for summer camps in Sweden and Britain with a focus on programming, but there wasn’t much. They found one in the US, at Stanford, which their son attended last summer. However, they realized that Sweden does not have any organized camps for kids interested in IT. They also saw that the IT-sector was one of the most unequal sectors in society. So in May 2015, they founded the Hello World! nonprofit and decided to organize a pilot camp in Stockholm’s archipelago, and focus on getting equal numbers of girls and boys (ages 12-16) to sign up. The camp will be held from July 17-31, 2016 on Gålö. They’re accepting applications for summer jobs now, and they’ve had many more applications from male students than female students to be camp leaders, so they asked me to encourage women to get in touch with them if they’re interested in working at the camp.

23. Womentor

 Womentor is a leadership network for women in IT and telecom, where each company that’s involved nominates one woman leader to participate in the program as a mentee. Each company must also provide two mentor candidates (male or female) to be mentors in the program. Also, the participating companies must work on changing their company to be more gender-equal, and set up concrete and measurable goals to increase the ratio of women leaders at their company.

24. Women in Tech

Women in Tech is a yearly conference that gets 1000 women “working in or aspiring to work in the tech industry” together for one day in Stockholm. The conference, which will be held on March 8, 2016, features panels with executive women at tech companies, and lots of opportunities to network and mingle. The event has sponsorship from MTGx, Google, Spotify, Tele2, TeliaSonera, and Bonnier.

25. Jessika Jonsson and Ellinor Hakansson, Project Managers, KTH’s Gender Equality Week

Gender Equality Week, a non-profit organization of students from KTH that was started in 2012 by Malvina, will take place this year from February 22-26. It includes lectures, workshops and debates on gender equality. Students invite speakers, companies, organizations and KTH representatives who talk about how they’re working to achieve a more gender-equal society. The goal is to create a debate on how more gender equality can be achieved, among students, in the private sector, and among the general public.

26. Codess

Codess is a community for female coders initiated by Microsoft, established to explore ways to promote gender diversity in the engineering field. On September 24, 2015, there was a Codess Hackathon in Uppsala, where the goal was to have gender-neutral teams with a 50/50 gender split.

27. Martin Thörnkvist, Conference Director, The Conference Malmö: Exploring Complexity in a Digital World

The Conference Malmö is a two-day, non-profit, multidisciplinary conference in Malmö that’s been hosted in August for 7 years running. The main themes are Human Behavior, New Technology and Make it Happen. It will be held August 16-17, 2016. The Conference has had a 50/50 representation among speakers since 2013. What’s super interesting here is that the gender breakdown of the participants has followed the gender breakdown of the speakers. Reading Martin’s blog post about how they achieved this result, it becomes clear that this result was the outcome of a lot of hard work. He also mentioned that The Conference has paid a larger amount of money in speaker fees to women than men, which is also extremely important to pay attention to.

28. StartUp Day

StartUp Day will be held on April 23, 2016. It’s Stockholm’s second-largest startup event, hosted by the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. In 2015, they had a 50/50 gender balance among speakers and moderators, with the exception of the VC panel, where they had 5 women and 8 men. In terms of participants in 2015, it was 39% women and 61% men.

29. Annika Englund, Anna Caracolias, Founders of the Genius Community

Annika Englund and Anna Caracolias founded the Genius community in 2015. They’ve since arranged a day-long event at Internetdagarna about gender equality in tech.  They also hosted a pitch event for female founders and entrepreneurs in September 2015. In 2016, Genius’s focus is on public and private financing of startups. They have an event next Thursday called “Money Matters” with FUndedByMe, Internetfonden and sponsored by Cygni and Dynamant. It’s fully booked, but you can still sign up for the wait list.

30. #EQMeter: Mentimeter and Add Gender

#EQMeter is a real-time survey tool created by Mentimeter and Add Gender to help you start or continue the journey toward a more gender-equal workplace. The tool gives you a free, pre-populated survey with gender equality questions, which you can ask your team at team meetings, which you can access via a free trial account with Mentimeter. Full disclosure: I was very involved in developing the survey questions for #EQMeter when I worked at Add Gender, although it was pro bono. Also, #EQMeter was nominated to be on this list by a #GETBlog reader.

A big thank-you to all of our readers for your nominations, positive feedback and excitement for this adventure!

På svenska:

Välkommen till det andra inlägget av #GETBlog! Vilken vecka! Jag har fått så många nomineringar från #GETBlog-läsare och vår lista över Sveriges jämställdhetsmästare inom teknikbranschen har vuxit och vuxit. Vi har också fått massor av positiv feedback och vi är mycket glada över det gensvar bloggen har fått. Det känns som en bra början på en fantastisk gemenskap!

Jag skulle vilja introducera er för Serge Lachapelle, som är medskapare av den här bloggen tillsammans med mig. Han har stöttat jämställdhet inom teknikbranschen länge bakom kulisserna i Stockholm. Han har till exempel hjälpt Google att ställa sig bakom “Women in Tech” och varit värd för “Introduce a Girl to till Engineering Day”, och han kom med idén till den här bloggen. Vi kommer att brainstorma idéer tillsammans och se till att de blir av - jag skriver och han redigerar. Vi är glada, inte bara för att vi är ett bra team, utan också för att vi båda tycker att det är viktigt att ha en jämn könsfördelning i laget som skriver om jämställdhet. (Därmed inte  sagt att kvinnocentrerade metoder inte har sin plats i jämställdhetsarbetet, vilket många av de mycket framgångsrika initiativen nedan visar. Mer om detta nästa vecka).Utan att avslöja för mycket - stora saker kommer! Glöm inte att låta oss få veta om du har några frågor om jämställdhet eller förslag som du vill att vi ska diskutera på bloggen. Vi har aktiverat kommentarsfältet på den övre högra sidan av bloggen och du kan alltid maila mig på

På tal om stora saker, jag är överväldigad av mängden fantastiska insatser för jämställdhet inom teknikbranschen i Sverige just nu. Ovanstående lista skulle bara ha innehållit runt tio nomineringar, men efter alla förslag från #GETBlog-läsare har den utökats till hela 20! Det betyder att vi nu har nominerat totalt 30 jämställdhetsmästare inom teknikbranschen i Sverige. Kom ihåg att denna lista är utan särskild ordning, jag kan inte rangordna alla dessa fantastiska initiativ. Detta är inte en tävling - det är en hyllning till allt hårt arbete för jämställdhet i teknikbranschen. Grattis till alla våra jämställdhetsmästare!