Ten women with previous or current connections to SSE have written a book entitled “179 Years of Solitude” about their experiences while working at the school. SSE welcomes you to the book’s launch and mingle event on Wednesday, 9 March at 12.15 p.m. – 13.15 p.m. in the Atrium.
The publisher has summarized the book as follows:
How do women react in male-dominated workplaces and what are the consequences of their actions? Ten women at the male bastion that is the Stockholm School of Economics reveal their thoughts and strategies. The writers are researchers and teachers who have had to adapt to the unrivalled inequality of the university world. They candidly describe the situations they’ve faced, from everyday meetings to crucial moments in their carriers.
As an introduction, the writers describe why they wrote this book:
“It’s not common to write a book from the inside of one’s workplace. But freedom is a part of our job description; the ceilings should be high at a university. We take pride in discussing and analyzing issues. Women at other types of workplaces may find it hard to write a similar book, and that is why we also felt a sense of responsibility – we, who are able to do so. We hope that our stories can inspire others, if not to write a new book, at least to have new conversations. We wish for more people to be aware of how male dominance prevails, year after year, and how to challenge it and break it down.”
With the upcoming launch in sight we took the opportunity to ask a few questions to the President, Lars Strannegård, and the Equality and Diversity Manager, Karol Vieker.
Lars Strannegård, as President, what do you think about “179 Years of Solitude”?
“The book contains ten texts that touched me emotionally. It highlights ten women’s experiences; of working life, of academia and of working at the Stockholm School of Economics. The book is in many ways an astounding read, but it also highlights a strong feminist tradition at SSE. I am actually quite proud and elated that the climate at SSE is such that our previous and current colleagues feel that they can write about their experiences in such a personal and revealing manner. We want an open dialogue about the challenges we face, and it’s good that different experiences come to light,” says Lars Strannegård.
The book contains open criticism of the environment at SSE – what is your take on this?
“We are working actively to promote long-term change, and to prevent the continuation of faulty structures. I see the book as an important tool for change and hope that the debate can contribute to a positive development.”
Why does it take so long?
“Change takes time and, of course, sometimes I feel frustrated. But we know that it is only through perseverance and hard work on norms and power structures that we can achieve the changes that we want to see, both at SSE and in society at large.”
Karol Vieker, Equality and Diversity Manager, is the Stockholm School of Economics worse than other academic institutions in terms of equality?
“The situation at SSE is not good but not notably worse than at other academic institutions. In our latest employee survey, we see that 36 percent of our employees feel that they do not work under equal conditions, and this is unacceptable, of course. Unfortunately, this is a situation that is recognizable from other teaching facilities: In Swedish economics institutions, at for example the University of Stockholm and the University of Gothenburg, the percentage of women professors is about the same as at SSE. In an international comparison, SSE came out just under Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School, both of which were under 20 percent in terms of female professors. It just shows how important it is to continue placing equality high on the agenda, so that we continuously improve.”
Statistics on equality at SSE.
What is being done to improve equality at SSE?
“Besides having a solid action plan with many concrete actions, it is imperative to be aware that equality work is something that is done daily – through interaction between people and by making gender-power structures in society visible. For example, it’s about how we speak to and behave towards each other. For me, the writers’ stories in ‘179 Years of Solitude’ also represent an important tool in the work of improving equality at the Stockholm School of Economics.”
Description of concrete actions.
The Equal Opportunity Plan.
For more information about the equality and diversity work at SSE , please contact:
Karol Vieker, Equality and Diversity Manager, Stockholm School of Economics
08-736 90 79
For more information about the book, please contact:
Jenny Lantz, editor of the book “179 Years of Solitude”
0709-92 44 10
Linda Portnoff, editor of the book “179 Years of Solitude”
070-465 89 46
Read more about the idea behind the book here.