Undoing gender in the innovation system of the Swedish mining industry – a pilot study

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Ylva Fältholm


Purpose and goal
The aim is to identify and describe gendered patterns, structures and discourses of the Swedish and global mining industry’s innovation systems. We show that although the global mining industry displays gender-biased patterns, the Swedish industry is undergoing fundamental changes, e.g. gender equality is on the agenda and part of daily discourses. The goal is to use this knowledge as a basis for initiatives to further strengthen the development of the research and innovation system towards gender equality.

Structure and implementation
We have carried out in-depth interviews with eight actors (four women and four men) central to the Swedish mining research and innovation system. These interviews have been analysed both from a gender and from an innovation perspective. We have also, by using the search engine WebCorp Live, downloaded a large number of texts from the web focusing on women, gender and diversity in mining. Analyses of these texts have impacted the construction of interview questions and analyses and vice versa.

Expected results
The possible transformation of the Swedish mining industry’s innovation system towards increased gender equality is probably the result of gender-aware innovation and human resources policies and strategies, initiated by the industry itself and by academic institutions, by policymakers, funding agencies and research programs. This development, if sustained by further initiatives, has the potential to promote the best possible conditions for innovation for both women and men. On a global level, the results can be used to develop gender-aware strategies for capacity building.