Jämställdhetsveckan is an annual recurring project driven by students at KTH in Stockholm. During the week a variety of companies are invited to participate and hold workshops or lectures on the topic of gender equality and diversity,
This year SVT participated for the first time. Anna Sommansson, Project Manager at SVT Barn, talked about the work done to erase stereotypes that exist around genus. It’s a work that involves different parts of the process of producing shows for children – working with manuscripts, developing role characters and so on. SVT makes deliberate choices in how girls and boys are presented in the shows. Anna showed how they actively works to show girls who do things where boys typically are seen and the other way around. As an example, Anna showed clips with girls having motocross as their great interest and a boy singing in a choir.
Designing Shows with Diversity in Mind
In our inhouse developed program concept Labyrint, SVT has tried to completely remove gender markers. A team of three children compete against Daidalos and his robots. The children has gender-neutral costumes, Daidalos address them with expressions like “pipe benders” and the robots are neither him nor she. The person acting Daidalos is a man but has female attributes in clothing and hairstyle.
When it comes to shows that SVT is buying from producers outside of Sweden, it’s often more difficult to make changes avoiding stereotypes. An example of what can be done in animated productions, is to change the characters’ gender when dubbing the program to Swedish.
A different perspective on diversity was given by Gereon Kåver from SVT interactive – SVTi. Working in a male dominated industry he showed how we work with gender issues. He showed that it’s not only a question of equality but also of Innovation and having fun at work.
Diverse group has been seen in several studies to be more innovative. Why is not fully known – adding new perspectives is a no-brainer but not the whole truth. It also forces us to question our assumptions, sharpen our arguments and work harder to get to consensus.
Gereon described three areas of focus in working with gender equality:
- Set goals…and measure
Measurement are helpful to to fight misconceptions and to find real pain-points. Deciding what to measure in advance and regular follow-ups are important to avoid creating vanity metrics.
- Recruiting for Diversity
Recruiting is essential tool for moving toward diversity, explained Gereon. Common pitfalls are looking among people you have worked before – maybe the fastest way to maintain status quo. Looking for people that “fit in”, what does that mean? It can be a warning sign, though not necessarily so.
Equally important is what signals you send through images, job description or public appearances. SVT has moved towards more elaborate cultural descriptions in our job offerings instead of listing requirements.
- Talk about Diversity…
Diversity affect every part of the company – what language is used? Are the coffee break activities inclusive? What kind of supporting techniques are used? Is the environment inclusive? How is onboarding adapted?…
A question of fun
Although little research support is found that diversity leads to a happier workplace SVT strongly believe that it does. Maybe because discussing these issues also is a discussion about how we should treat each other and how we want the workplace to be.
Finally a thanks to everyone that helped organize Jämställdhetsveckan – a great initiative that SVT is very happy to be invited to.