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13 Things Not To Say To Your Lesbian Friend – Diversity & Equality in 2014

Hello friends! I hope that everyone had lovely holidays and a wonderful first few days of 2014. I thought I’d start off the New Year by sharing this funny article I came across (admittedly on Cosmo – yes, I read Cosmo). I liked it because: 1. it’s funny 2. it addresses taboo stuff that people don’t like to talk about, like ingrained heteronorms etc. 3. it’s a cool way to think about being more wordly and less ignorant as we all move into 2014: the year of embracing the coolness of differences!

Here it is, enjoy!

13 Things Not to Say to your Lesbian Friend


Publicerad den 6 januari, 2014 av Alice Marshall
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Here’s what not to say about women as a CEO

Normally on our blog, we try to inspire with stories of success in gender equality and diversity. But this story was just too good to not share. It’s also a really good example of what can happen if you don’t think or reflect about gender equality, inclusion and respect at all as a leader, or consider them an important element of your own professional development. The founder and Chairman of a US women’s yoga apparel company, Lululemon, has recently come under intense scrutiny for his outrageous comments about how ”some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for” his company’s yoga pants. This was his comment addressing concerns that some of the company’s $98 yoga pants are see-through. Remind me to never buy anything from Lululemon! Some tips: don’t insult your customers. Especially don’t insult them about the way they look – BIG mistake. Chip later tried to apologize for the comments in what was called ”the worst apology ever.” Priceless. Thanks, Chip, for this great example of what NOT to say when you’re in a leadership role! Here’s the link to the cringe-fest, enjoy!:

Lululemon’s Chip Wilson’s ”worst apology ever”

Publicerad den 5 december, 2013 av Alice Marshall
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Inspiring Diversity at HP



A few weeks ago, I lectured at HP on diversity and gender equality in the global IT world for their Inspiration Day 2013, which was themed ”Putting our differences to work.” I had an absolute blast, it was an awesome group of people, and the other speakers were great too. My talk focused on how to work with diversity as an organization: what it looks like right now in the IT industry, crucial arguments for diversity in IT, and best practices for becoming great at diversity. (HP is already doing really well in terms of gender equality, with 45/55% men and women in Executive management in Sweden).

Another great highlight of the day was meeting HP’s Managing Director of Norway, Anita Krohn Traaseth. Her talk was entitled ”Confessions of a Managing Director,” and she was hilarious. She focused on individual-level actions that people can take to drive their own success, and she talked about her own success story. Her career started when she applied for a job at IBM with absolutely no experience and no degree in engineering, both of which were requirements. Instead of responding to the job ad with a resume and cover letter, she wrote a fake press release as if they had already hired her: ”As expected, IBM has hired Ms. Krohn Traaseth and welcome her to our team. Her long experience and creativity will be a welcome part of our team…” and so forth. Actually, out of 10 ”qualifications” for the job, she only had one: a good attitude. But that didn’t stop her. She didn’t get the job, but the hiring team found her response so interesting and creative that they invited her to a weekend for the executives at IBM, and she went, and got hired for a different role. Done!

Of course Anita now has 17+ years of experience in management and IT roles, so a lot has changed from that beginning. But she’s still obviously really creative. One of her first actions when she assumed the MD role was to invite everyone in the company to have an individual, 5-minute meeting with her. She asked them 3 questions, including where are the biggest bottlenecks in the organization, and what’s the key to keeping the culture. The input of her colleagues helped her decide strategy.

I love meeting women who are crushing it in IT, and that’s why I wanted to share this story with you. I also really enjoy working with organizations that have creative people working to promote diversity. HP has lots of both (the pic above is me with Malin Löfstedt, the mastermind behind this great event), and that’s why it was such a great day. For all of you who want to learn more about Anita, check out her blog: http://tinteguri.com/ And remember – diversity and creativity go hand in hand!

Publicerad den 3 december, 2013 av Alice Marshall
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GoldieBlox and Gender Equality in Engineering

This video is awesome:

Awesome Goldieblox ”Girls” Commercial

Watching this video took me right back to my childhood. Oh, the days of building forts and playing games! Then I started thinking about how protected I was from the complete gender bias in every element of children’s toys. Why? Because I grew up playing with my two brothers everyday, who are respectively two years older and 3 years younger than me. Since we didn’t have tons of extra money, we shared toys. So I grew up playing with teenage mutant ninja turtles (my Mom hated Barbies anyway), Gameboy (notice the boy), Mario on Playstation (notice another boy), Goldeneye and Sega Genesis. Sure, I had a few dolls too. I also didn’t have TV until I was around 11 (incidentally when we started playing Playstation), so we played a lot of analog games like Monopoly, and spent tons of time outside building cool things like snow forts. This protected me  somewhat from the gender bias in girl’s toys, but obviously most of the toys I was playing with were marketed specifically for boys.

Obviously GoldieBlox hasn’t moved away from marketing toys specifically to girls, which I still don’t agree with. As my entire childhood shows, both girls and boys often like the same toys – it’s just about making cool stuff. However, at least Goldieblox’s games are aimed at making kids smarter and more into science, and judging by the 8.5 million youtube views (the original video got taken down), everyone else likes this concept too.

One thing I want to mention here is that there are a lot of female engineers already. I hear the argument every day that ”we need more female engineers” because I work with a lot of high-tech companies as a gender equality and diversity consultant. First of all, the number of female engineers has risen dramatically. Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology’s 5-year civil engineering program gave out degrees to 30% women and 70% men in 2012. So don’t tell me there’s no women in engineering.

There are, however, some areas of engineering and computer science, specifically programming, that have suffered from low amounts of women for many years. I propose several solutions:

1.  Everyone needs to take responsibility for giving their kids/neieces/nephews/friends’ kids/grandkids, etc. toys that enrich their life and make them smart, not limit them according to their gender.

2. Schools starting from kindergarten all the way to college need to get better at ensuring that there’s not gender bias in teaching or recruiting and work actively to reduce gender segregation (this goes both for boys and girls). Schools have successfully worked to ensure equality in their computer science programs before, like Carnegie Mellon. Carnegie Mellon Increased % Women in Comp Science from 7% to 42%. It can be done!

3. Engineering and tech companies need to actively recruit for diverse groups in a number of ways, not just via networking. Look around you. If everyone else at your company looks like you, your diversity initiatives have failed. It’s time to think outside the box!

If you need help or tips, email me: alice.marshall@addgender.se




Publicerad den 29 november, 2013 av Alice Marshall
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How easy it is for disabled travellers to cross London?

This is a great video from the BBC that I came across this morning and wanted to share: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01h34lp

Synopsis from BBC:

One year ago, London hosted the Paralympic Games with the bold hope that it would help change the perception of disability in the city.

The mayor and the British government say more disabled people travelled to more events at more locations than at any previous games.

So 12 months on, has the busy transport network improved for wheelchair users visiting London?

BBC’s Fast Track asked former Paralympian, Ade Adepitan, and disability campaigner, Christiane Link, to cross the city as fast as they possibly could.


Publicerad den 26 september, 2013 av Alice Marshall
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