Last week a special event took place at Scania. At half past five during the Tuesday afternoon around one hundred women met up to discuss how Scania is working with sustainability, equality and skill capture. Even if it was a public event and anyone who wanted could attend the majority there were women working at Scania. I guess this reflects how important this subject is to many of us.
The evening started off with dinner and discussions around the table and the expectations were high. On a big screen there were the possibility to ask questions to the speaker of the evening – our CEO Henrik Henriksson. He gave an inspirational speech and then opened up for the questions that we had.
Henrik compared Scania to a frozen lasagnea that you put in the microwave trying to heat it up. Having been a student for a couple of years I know from experience that it takes some time for the lasagnea to get warm and to get the same temperature in the whole dish is impossible – some parts are hot like the sun and other parts are frozen like the ice age.
It works in the same way at Scania. Some parts of the company are better than others and I guess it works in the same way at many other companies. I feel quite happy to say that I believe things are getting better for women at Scania and in the whole industry – you just need the time and effect to get the edible lasagnea.
When I talk about my job I say that I learn something new everyday and that it is fun and I also go home almost every day thinking the very same thought. Early mornings is not a problem, I enjoy working with my colleagues and I like the general mind-set that I meet every day. Still, often people’s reaction when I say that I work at Scania are words like: “wow, is that environment suitable for a woman to work in? how do you feel about the “industry culture”?”. More often than not I have been approached with an open mind set and not really reflected over the fact that I am a woman at Scania. However, even if that is the case the unsuitable environment and the so-called industry culture exists and I think Henrik explained it quite well with the frozen lasagnea metaphor.
At the moment, more focus is put on development plans and also skill capture – to focus on the indivual’s qualities and possibility to develop. I think that is good to focus on this for both men and women, even if I believe that women sometimes need it more. Skill capture is much more than being a boss high up in the organization, it is about the skills. Nevertheless, if I look at my different rotations during this year, more than half of my bosses have been women. I find that very inspirational, especially since I can see that they are good for their roles.
I think that it is good that we are focusing on these questions and I hope that more people around Scania, Sweden, Europe and the world would like to get more involved so that these questions – gender, equality, and skill capture amongst others – can be discussed and actions taken everywhere.
I look forward to take part in more events like these and hope to involve not only women since these are subjects that are important to everyone.