Response to the Minister of Education: What is his plan?

Anna Edstedt
Anna Edstedt

Dagens Opinion has previously reported on the Minister of Education’s in Sweden statement during Almedalsveckan, where he urges the government to collaborate with tech companies to increase the presence of women in the IT industry. In a debate article in “Dagens Opinion,” Peter Hellgren, CEO of Consid, and Anna Edstedt, Head of Q by Consid, shed light on the importance of the Education Minister’s statement and extend an invitation for cooperation.

It is time for the Minister of Education, Mr. Mats Persson (L), to formulate a plan and take action to encourage more women to pursue employment within the technology sector. This is the perspective held by two executives at the IT company, Consid.

For several years, the technology industry has illuminated the issue of the underrepresentation of women in the field and the profound challenges that the current skills shortage presents to the broader societal advancement. Consequently, there is no one more delighted than us concerning Education Minister Mats Persson’s appeal to the IT industry for collaboration in enticing more women to choose education and careers within the technology domain. This is a matter that Today’s Opinion has reported on. However, what precisely is his plan?

To grasp why this is an imperative issue, we must first direct our focus towards the current circumstances within the technology industry. Digitalization significantly influences and guides people’s everyday lives, and it is primarily the IT sector that wields the authority to mold how the society of the future will manifest. An inequitable IT sector, therefore, harbors the risk of generating an unequal and exclusionary society, impacting aspects such as communication, economics, and infrastructure.

Statistics from Skolverket reveal that merely two out of ten applicants to the technical program in high school are female. The proportion of women within the technology industry has remained consistently low, hovering around 30 percent over the past decade.

The IT industry is often associated with terms like complex, nerdy, and male-dominated, discouraging fewer women from entering the sector as they do not perceive themselves fitting into this portrayed description.

Attracting more women to the industry is also one of the pivotal factors enabling the ongoing development to continue at its current pace. The technology sector is grappling with a skills shortage, with a deficiency of over 100,000 professionals. To bridge this skills gap, it is imperative to augment diversity and entice women into the industry.

Education Minister Mats Persson, in an interview with Today’s Opinion, has expressed his astonishment that Sweden still lacks a strategy for increasing women’s presence within the technology industry. We can only concur. Consid, one of the leading technology companies in the Nordic region, has been actively engaged since 2013 in advancing gender equality within the industry through the Q by Consid initiative. By means of mentorship, educational initiatives, information dissemination, and female networks, we actively endeavor to both attract more women to the industry and retain them.

Promoting gender equality within the technology sector necessitates concrete measures, necessitating collaboration among the education system, the corporate sector, and the realm of politics. It also involves reconfiguring the communication surrounding what IT and technology entail to allure a more extensive target audience. We must not allow the mantra ‘there are no women in tech’ to perpetuate itself as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Hence, we extend an invitation, as a company that has dedicated substantial effort to this issue over the years, to partake in contributing to the government’s continued endeavors. We must witness tangible results and advancements soon, not just mere words and declarations. The technology sector represents the future, and to guarantee its success, the Education Minister’s statement from Almedalen must evolve from rhetoric into concrete action.

Peter Hellgren, CEO of Consid
Anna Edstedt, Head of Q by Consid

Read the debate article here (in Swedish)

Women cheering their glasses on a picnic.

Q Meet

Q Meet is our event within the framework of Q by Consid. We host physical and digital events on the topic of equality within the tech industry.
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Q by Consid


Q by Consid is Consid's community for gender equality - a platform through which we work for increased gender equality in the tech industry.
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