A new project will develop the city of Landskrona in an equal opportunities perspective. Both attitudes and processes are due to change.
The initiative concerns everything from the city’s flag guidelines to representation policy. The project ‘Jämlika Landskrona’ is focused on processes and sets the bar high. The city is determined to become a more attractive employer and the equality work shall permeate all of its operations.
‘There’s so much we want to accomplish, but we have had to delimit our ambitions. Real change is rarely accomplished through education alone, so we’re focusing mainly on structures and norms. And to get the biggest bang for the buck, we have selected a number of processes that are central to the organisation,’ says Hannes Frizén, equal treatment developer.
These include Landskrona’s central steering and budgeting process, as well as some HR processes, for example those for recruitment and salary setting. The appointment of working groups, which include managers and other key staff, helps integrate the equal treatment work into all of the city’s activities.
Both Managers and Staff Receive Training
Then all the managers receive training in order to use the results from the working groups. This involves both general education and more specialised training within the different fields.
‘We customise the training to make it relevant to everybody and so that the material can be connected directly to the processes presented by the working groups.’
Regular staff receive training as well, in order for policies and guidelines to be applied across the entire organisation. Frizén says that real change is not possible without a true understanding of the equal treatment work.
‘We discuss approach and turn to ourselves and our preconceptions.’
‘Of course people don’t always agree on everything, but they still have to be respectful to one another.’
One example of a lecture that really applied across the board was the one by Sara Lund and Claes Schmidt. They said that people are programmed to understand the world around them during a certain period of their lives, but then the world around them changes, and in that situation it is important that they reprogram themselves.
Frizén says that the lecture sparked many discussions.
‘It’s important to create an environment where everybody’s opinions are invited. Of course people don’t always agree on everything, but they still have to be respectful to one another.’
New Training Material
Jämlika Landskrona is developing new training material to be used across the organisation. The biggest challenge is to make it broad in scope yet specialised.
‘Since we don’t want to reinvent the wheel we’re using methods that have proved successful elsewhere.’
‘There are for example exercises about how we relate to each other and interact. What happens if someone violates the norms at work? We are hoping to be able to use the material at workplace meetings – and to guide discussions. Since we don’t want to reinvent the wheel we’re using methods that have proved successful elsewhere.’
Are There Areas with Room for Improvement?
’As an organisation, we could more clearly demonstrate active ownership with respect to equal treatment work, meaning more clearly demand results and development in the organisation.’
What Are You Hoping to Accomplish over the 2-year Project Period?
’We want to be at a point where certain structural changes have been completed and we want the equal treatment perspective to be evident. Two years is not enough to achieve changes in attitudes and values, but we hope to at least have created an embryo.’
About the Project and Concepts,
- The two-year project ‘Jämlika Landskrona’ is funded by the European Social Fund and was started in February 2011.
- Jämlika Landskrona is based on integration of equal opportunities, which implies: ‘(Re)organisation, improvements, development and evaluation of decision-making processes, so that the equal opportunities become integrated in all decision-making, at all levels and in all steps of the process by the actors who normally participate in decision-making.’
- The concept of ‘equal opportunities’ was selected to signal something new, compared with earlier integration and gender equality efforts. Another purpose is to emphasise an intersectional perspective, which includes several grounds for discrimination besides gender and ethnicity, such as sexual orientation, disabilities and age.