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The Power of Diversity

Anastasia Angeli -

THS Armada -

What is Diversity? Why do you keep hearing this term more and more often lately? Or maybe it is just me being biased and assuming that everyone hears the same things as I do.

Diversity management is one of the initiatives that embodies the European Commission’s long-term commitment for diverse workplaces and inclusive societies. Sweden also has a Diversity Charter, with active members in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm. During THS Armada fair (who has Diversity as one of their core values) a panel has been hosted, the aim of which was to open up a discussion about diversity in work environments. We were lucky to have a varied combination of people on the panel, who could represent different aspects of diversity and provide their personal opinion, looking at questions from different angles.

From left to right the panelists were, Norma Cueto Celis - Head of event and logistics, Bright at KTH, Greg Fernando - Founder of New to Sweden, Gabriella Wiiala - Chairman of Diversity Charter Sweden, Anastasia Angeli - Head of Diversity at THS Armada (moderator), Maria Johansson - Project manager of the Swedish foundation of Human Rights, Roh Petas - Gender equality, diversity and equal conditions strategist at KTH Equality Office and Amina Bensabra - JML coordinator at Malvina.

From a general discussion of the topic we have quickly moved to more specific questions. There was an opportunity for students to ask questions to the panelists, a few of which we have discussed more in focus. I will share the key points.

What is the value of having different perspectives in a team in education or a workplace?

There have been studies, proving that the more diverse a team is, the more likely it is to perform better than the non-diverse team, which also requires inclusive leadership. Harvard study showed that if a team matches the ethnic diversity of their audience, they are 152% more likely to perform financially better. This McKinsey study proves the same tendency.

How can diversity be embedded as a part of education?

It is important that KTH gives the tools to create inclusive environments. It could be done through putting together teams that are as diverse as possible as it results in those teams being more innovative. Another suggestion was to have a compulsory Diversity course as a part of KTH education. In addition to the evaluations at the end of the course (that could target diversity and inclusion aspects of student life), it is useful to set up an agreement in the beginning of the course, on how people in the team want to treat each other.

What do you think about Swedish language requirements for many vacancies in Sweden and what could be done in that regard to include internationals?

Companies should be encouraged to reduce their language requirements, e.g. instead of «Native Swedish» to «can communicate in Swedish», and «can pick up Swedish». Employers need to be more open-minded about people who they want to recruit - not always language is required.

It was a valuable opportunity to talk and exchange knowledge about how to do things in terms of diversity and inclusion. It is great to know that the KTH Equality Office is actively working towards D&I and is willing to listen, discuss and act in that direction. But I want to highlight that it is also on you, a person reading this article, to be proactive, make demands and ask for more content related to diversity and inclusion.

Watch the video!

Publicerad: 2022-02-10

Ansvarig utgivare: Raquel Frescia
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