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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Vem ska leda jämställdhetsarbetet inom akademin? : en studie av jägmästarprogrammet vid SLU

Powell, Stina; Grubbström, Ann


The forestry sector has been associated with a strong negative masculine culture. With the sector’s own #metoo call in 2017–2018, it became apparent that sexism and discrimination are still prevalent, and that more needs to be done to change the situation for those studying and working in the sector. Calls for stronger leadership is frequently heard, arguing that without the leadership on board, little can be done to change negative norms and practices. The aim of the study is to, through focus groups and interviews, examine how university leadership, teachers and students in the forest master program at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences view the role of formal and informal leadership in contributing to a more gender equal education. Our analysis shows how questions of who is to lead change is embedded in layers of ideas of responsibilities, expectations and insecurities and how these ideas move around in the organisation. Formal leaders want to prioritise gender equality, but are at the same time reluctant to take on the leadership. Students and teachers expect that formal leaders clearly express that they prioritise gender equality and act accordingly. Teachers appear as central agents of change, but their role is difficult and contradictory. On one hand, teachers are asked to talk about and react to gender (in)equalities in the classroom. But, on the other hand, SLU often bring in external lecturers and experts to speak about gender equality, which signals that it is not the job or competence of university teachers to engage with and handle these issues. Moreover, our study shows that professionals are important as role models for a more gender equal forestry sector. They can give support and an idea of what the students future work life could look like in a gender equality perspective.


leadership; gender equality; academic organisations; higher education; change agents

Published in

Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap
2021, Volume: 42, number: 1, pages: 78-98