Men Leading Gender Equality

Lately I’ve been noticing that a lot of men are starting awesome initiatives to create more gender equality. I wanted to write this blog to share these initiatives, and I also wanted to talk about the fact that gender equality is not just about  women. Gender equality is about equality between women and men, and thus, has to do with both men and women. Gender inequalities in society affect men in profound ways, from childhood to adulthood. They limit the choices that both men and women can make. In order for us to get rid of these unwritten rules and norms and create a society where gender doesn’t matter in terms of your wage, your choice of profession, in who takes care of children and sick parents, and so many other things, we need the help and participation of both women and men.

I want the discussion surrounding gender equality to be inclusive, positive, and proactive. And I want men to feel welcome in this discussion. The aim of this blog is to show the many examples of men who are already leading gender equality. I hope that this list only grows in the future.

To start with, I wanted to highlight our three extremely talented male colleagues on our team at Add Gender. Frederick Lidman is an expert on masculinity, i.e. the norms and expectations placed on men. Emil Åkerö is an expert on norms, and cultural representations of LGBTQ individuals. Tomas Gunnarsson, aka Genusfotografen, works with gender depictions in media, especially in pictures and advertising. We are extremely proud of the awesome team we’ve gathered together at Add Gender. We’re always learning from each other, and that’s why I think we have the best team of gender equality and diversity consultants in Sweden.

In addition to our awesome male colleagues who are working everyday to improve gender equality, the following list includes some of the most exciting initiatives at the moment created by men. Of course there are so many more men who are leading gender equality who aren’t on this list. Feel free to add more names and initiatives in the comments. For those who are new to us, we welcome you to join the discussion, help us expand our network, and chat with us on FB and twitter. Let’s create equality together! Without further ado, here are the initiatives:


The folks behind Tacka Nej: Thomas Frostberg, Marcin de Kaminski and Fredrik Wass (pictures in that order), in collaboration with Rättviseförmedlingen:

What’s #TackaNej?

Tacka Nej is a campaign, started by the three of us together with Rättviseförmedlingen (Equalisters), meaning to make unbalanced public appearances – panels, jurys, events and such – more proportionate. (Alice’s note: Tacka Nej translates as ”decline.” When invited to speak on a panel, the ever-increasing members of this initiative will only attend on the condition that there is at least 1 woman onstage as well. Otherwise, they’ll decline. People show their commitment by putting themselves on the Tackanej list, which you can see by scrolling down on their homepage. This initiative is a follow-up to a similar, also highly successful initiative by Rättviseförmedlingen from two years ago, Tackaja, which focused on getting more women in TV debates, in the media, to be selected as experts on panels, etc.)

Why is equality important to you?

Today, we can see how most panels and events are effectively ignoring a large part of our population. For no reason. This means that we all miss out on a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom. Tacka Nej is an attempt to balance public appearances in order to get the best out of our population all together.


 Anurag Choudhary, TiE NordicWomen Investing in Women Meetup

What’s Women Investing in Women?

Women Investing In Women is a global coalition of passionate individuals to foster broader access to capital for women and to promote the growth of women-led startups and businesses. Stockholm Investing In Women Meetup series is a local initiative in this direction with a focus on showcasing women in startups as founders, leaders and investors.

Why is equality important on the startup scene?

I think gender equality is not only important; it is a MUST for any healthy and vibrant startup scene. Women are excellent leaders, team-builders, they bring higher returns, they are better money-managers, they combine logical and intuitive thinking in seamlessly amazing ways, they are power users of every popular and useful technology, they are super connectors, the companies they build are more capital efficient than the average. So, I strongly feel that working towards creating favorable conditions to nurture more high-growth women-led startups should be a TOP priority for everyone involved within the startup ecosystem in any capacity.


Jonas Karlsson, Swedish Tech People

What’s Swedish Tech People?

Swedish Tech People is a list of women in tech and startups in Sweden. (Alice’s note: Jonas created this list by sending out a blank spreadsheet on Twitter and asking people to fill it out. He’s currently adding more people to the list as people email him their name, title and a picture. As of January 27, 2014, there were 86 people on the list.)

Why is equality important to you / on the startup scene and in IT?

The more perspectives the better. We must realize that much of what we take as given truths in the IT and startup world today, are truths which usually are created by men.


The organization Men for Gender equality (Män för jämställdhet)

You can learn more about Men for Gender equality on their website or facebook page, or learn more about membership here.

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Publicerad den 28 januari, 2014 av Alice Marshall
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Alice Marshall
Gender Equality & Diversity Consultant
Alice Marshall is a gender equality consultant at Add Gender. She wrote her Master's thesis at Stockholm University about best practices for gender equality in the IT industry. She is the only gender equality consultant in Sweden specializing in IT. She is very interested in gender equality and diversity as a strategy to make businesses more profitable, innovative and fun to work for. Before completing her Master's degree, she worked for Ernst & Young and Harlem Village Academies in New York.


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