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How Lund University’s Focus on Inclusivity in Communications Shaped My Career at the Intersection of Gender, Remote Work, and Women in Tech

Emilie portrait

Guest writer, alumna Emilie Schafferling, is a 27-year-old Dane now residing in Ottawa, Canada, whose career trajectory evolved from journalism studies at Lund University (2019-2021) to a role in communications and PR within the tech industry. Her degree from Lund University provided Emilie with the tools to shape inclusive narratives to advocate for women in tech and contribute to the global remote work discussion.

The writer is responsible for the facts, sources, analysis and viewpoints presented in the text.

Emilie Schafferling
Lund University provided Emilie Schafferling with the tools to shape inclusive narratives to advocate for women in tech and contribute to the global remote work discussion.

My job is to advocate for women in tech through PR

My journey from studying journalism at Lund University to working in communications for tech companies has been all about exploring how communication and gender intersect.

What has driven me to tech, an industry relatively foreign to journalism, is the gender dynamics within the field, which has carried over into my current role at a Canadian remote-first company (Alludo), where I work with highlighting the gendered aspects of remote work and advocating for women in tech through PR.

But what’s the connection between gender, remote work, and women in tech, you may wonder. Let me break it down and explain what that all has to do with my time at Lund University.

Gender is everywhere

One of the topics I work with is the gendered aspects of remote work – especially related to the recent pushback against remote work that is making headlines.

You’ve probably heard it before: remote work isn’t just convenient; it’s a game-changer for diversity too, and women are leading the charge. In fact, studies show that a whopping 9 out of 10 women prefer remote work. And it’s not just any women – it’s women of color, LGBT women, and those with disabilities who feel the difference even more.

So, when we talk about remote work and all the pushback it’s getting, we’ve got to see it through a gender lens. Insisting that everyone comes back to the office? It’s really about catering to the needs of white, straight, and able-bodied men. And we need to shine a light on that reality rather than ignoring the negative impact it has on diversity.

Seeing the remote work vs. return to office debate as a gendered issue is something I gained the tools to do during my time at Lund University, where diversity and gender-related aspects were always at the forefront of how we approached things. It’s an approach I later discovered to be unique to my program and school – an approach I couldn’t imagine not applying every single day in my work.

The thing about tech

It may be no surprise that even though we have come a long way, women are still underrepresented in tech. Only 32% of the workforce in tech are women, and of those few women who do work in tech, 50% tend to leave the industry by the age of 35.  That’s a huge problem.

Certainly, part of the challenge lies in the pipeline, fewer women pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) studies, leading to a scarcity of female talent, which is exactly why we need more spotlight on the female role models within the field.

But we also need to address those challenges faced by the minority of women who do actually pursue a career in tech. ‘Bro culture’ and gender-based microaggressions are reported reasons for women fleeing the field by the age of 35.

And we, once again, need to talk about that as a gendered problem rather than letting the status quo persist.

Words create our reality – so choose carefully

Effective communication can be a catalyst for change both when it comes to women in tech, as well as the discussion about remote work. It’s not just about conveying information; it’s about shaping narratives, challenging biases, and fostering inclusivity. As communicators, our words can amplify voices and dismantle stereotypes. That’s why it’s crucial to recognize the underlying biases that influence the narratives we choose. By actively challenging these biases, we can uplift and empower those who remain underrepresented in certain spaces.

My time at Lund University played a pivotal role in shaping my approach to representation and how I communicate about gender. During my journalism studies, we were encouraged to critically consider the representation of different genders and races in our work. We were prompted to question why we chose certain sources and whether less-represented alternatives were available. And our teachers challenged us on whether we were telling stories that further fueled the already existing biases and stereotypes deeply ingrained in society.

My four semesters at Lund University truly laid the groundwork for not only my current work in working with the gendered aspects of the tech industry and remote work, but also the future of my career as a communicator.


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