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Malin Gustavsson

Malin Johanna Christina Gustavsson
Born May 31, 1978, Hammerland, Åland Islands

Master of Arts (Women’s Studies), 2006, University of Helsinki
Bachelor of Politics (Political Science), 2008, Åbo Akademi

Managing Director, Founder and Owner 2008-, Ekvalita Ltd
Course organiser, 2007-14, Åbo Akademi and University of Helsinki
Equalities Officer, 2010-11, Folkhälsan
Schools project leader, equal opportunities, 2009-10, Folkhälsan
Project Leader, 2007-09, Folkhälsan
Consultant, equality and diversity (self-employed), 2006-2008

Areas of expertise and awards
Developing methods to promote gender equality and diversity
Gender equality as a part of practical daily work
Organisational leadership, development of strategies and work flows
Svenska Kulturfonden (Swedish cultural fund) award for work with children and young people

Photo: Johan Karrento
Written by Malin Gustavsson and Kaija Hartikainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

Equality and leadership

That people are respected as individuals within an organisation is the cornerstone of equality and diversity expert Malin Gustavsson's work with various organisations. You have to create an environment where people can be and work as themselves. When people are fully committed to their work, they have the motivation to come up with more ideas and it is easier to encourage them to be innovative.

The goal of gender equity and diversity work is to create a more embracing and stimulating working environment which is open to all. A leader who takes the parity of salaries and recruiting processes seriously, does not tolerate harassment and who takes the equality point of view into account in their own work is needed at that point.

“In the end, it is about being brave enough to face people's feelings and take the trouble to research facts. In addition, you are creating an image of how your operations appear in real life. The analysis must also lead to concrete outcomes.”

When these actions are realised, they give the management a chance to take responsibility for their work and complete the process. According to Gustavsson, the first step entails increasing knowledge about norms: especially gender norms, but also the general norms prevalent in the organisation.

“It takes guts to see and admit that norms can be an obstacle to the development of the organisation and the motivation and inspiration of the employees. In short, the job of the manager is to create a foundation for equality and diversity work and get this work going in the organisation.”

A lot of leadership development work has been conducted in Sweden from the viewpoint of gender equity and parity. Since Swedish is Malin Gustavsson's mother tongue and she also has a large Swedish network, she has a good understanding of what has been and will be done in Sweden. Gustavsson sees utilising particular examples of the more equal Swedish leadership model as a great advantage when working with her Finnish clients.

“However, the Finnish leadership and organisational culture is different from that of Sweden, so it is important to apply the existing knowledge at an interorganisational level. Meanwhile, both the individual client and I learn a lot about the operational cultures of both of the target organisations.”

Photo: Christina Ahlzén.​
Photo: Christina Ahlzén.​


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