Targeted efforts against discrimination and harassment
EQUAL TREATMENT. The Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology takes equal treatment very seriously. An institution-wide advisory group holds regular meetings focusing on equal treatment.
The advisory group for equal treatment was established in the spring of 2015. The group provides additional contact between the institute’s employees and students and the equal treatment committee of the Sahlgrenska Academy via the equal treatment representative. All departments and study programs at the Institute for Neuroscience and Physiology have a contact person in the advisory group, and a student representative is included.
The Institute’s equal treatment representative Tove Lagerberg is the convener for the group, which also includes student representatives Eli Hedman who is studying speech therapy, Sofie Fredriksson and Annelie Gutke from the Department of Health and Rehabilitation, Annika Öhrfelt from the Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sofia Birgersson from the Department of Pharmacology and Sofia Särnsten from the Department of Physiology. The Department for Clinical Neuroscience is currently missing a contact person for the advisory group.
Professors are most often men
The concrete results of the work of advisory group include the statistics that have been compiled regarding compensation levels for men and women, and gender distribution between various types of employment at various levels to provide a basis for discussion at the institution.
“We are working to both raise awareness at the institution, to think critically and to get a clear overview of the situation,” says Tove Lagerberg.
Due to the fact that the compensation statistics are broken down in such detail and involve such a small number of individuals, it is difficult to draw major conclusions on the differences that appear. However, in terms of the gender distribution between the different employment levels, it is important not to turn a blind eye to the fact that two of three professors are men, and that the institute hires male visiting professors significantly more often than female visiting professors.
“This is worth noting. We are a highly female-dominated institute, but women’s careers often end with being a teaching assistant. Of the teaching assistants last year, only 19 percent are men, but as soon as the title includes the term ’professor’ – professor, adjunct professor, senior professor, or visiting professor – women are clearly underrepresented,” confirms Tove Lagerberg.
Keeping the spotlight on equal treatment
The goal is to include the perspectives of both staff and students, and to address issues covering the work being done within both the employee groups as well as the study programs and courses. Disseminating information about equal treatment is an important issue for the advisory group so that all of the students and employees know where to turn if they encounter a problem or witness someone else being treated poorly.
The contact people for the advisory group keep the spotlight on equal treatment issues, e.g. having the issue as a standing item at the APT.
Tove Lagerberg took the initiative for creating the advisory group when she took on her responsibility an as equal treatment representative:
“I felt that it was necessary to create an advisory group in order to be able to reach out to everyone at such a large institute, and so that these issues would actually get attention in the different departments”, she says, and she adds that the institute’s management has shown an appreciation for the work that the advisory group is doing:
“The statistics that we compiled regarding compensation for men and women were included in the institute’s annual report, as well as the numbers regarding gender distribution among various groups at the institute. It brings the issue into focus and we are proud of that.”
TEXT AND PHOTO: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN