It is said that 2022 marked “the return to normal” or at least “the new normal” – but I have long learned that a year in the Association of Nordic Engineers is never just normal.
ANE’s 15th anniversary year was fast-moving, presenting many new challenges and developments in our support for the Nordic Engineers and their organisations.
In 2022, ANE brought the urgent discussion of workers’ rights concerning AI and workplace surveillance into the heart of our member organisations. Our January workshop and September masterclass with international experts built a solid foundation to analyse the future challenges in the Nordics and provide a shared understanding of the member organisations’ role in tackling this particular matter.
AI & Ethics has been one of our priority areas for many years, and I am proud that our organisations have continued building on our work and have taken the lead in introducing this important discussion into the public sphere. The often improper use of AI surveillance tools has become a reality in many Nordic workplaces, and the engineers’ expert voices are crucial in the debate on workers’ rights.
Regulation of the use of AI is also high on the agenda for the EU, and our statement in June stresses the urgent need to strengthen workers’ representatives’ involvement in the governance and implementation of the coming EU AI Act.
This year, I have also been thrilled by the international response to ANE’s work on enabling more women and girls to pursue STEM careers.
In January, I was invited to participate in the 1st Nordic roundtable discussion on Gender Equality and Climate Justice organised by UN Women, FOKUS, and The Nordic Council of Ministers. It was an inspirational session with excellent inputs from public, private, and civil society organisations across the Nordics.
After the session, it was great to see our key messages on diversity in STEM education, the workplace, and not least in the green transition used as decisive arguments in several of the 22 takeaways published from the roundtable discussions.
And as a panelist at the high-level Novatore Impact Summit in Riga later in the year, I was able to highlight many of these challenges as central barriers to women’s successful careers. I especially emphasised young women’s lack of self-confidence, the shortage of role models, and the deficit in equal pay as critical issues preventing girls and women from succeeding in STEM and leadership roles.
The importance of more women in STEM cannot be overestimated, which is why we partnered with the RoboInsight 2022 event, where the EU Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager delivered the keynote speech.
As event partners, we brought two great women, Mia Shah-Dand, founder of Women in Ethics, and our Vice-President Ulrika Lindstrand, into the speaker lineup. They gave vital in-depth insights and examples on the importance of involving women in future technology development to avoid biases that exacerbate gender and socio-economic inequities.
And our important efforts get noticed. I was very honoured and proud in August when I received a nomination for the Nordic Women in Tech Awards in the Digital Leader of the Year category. When I share the knowledge and insights on diversity from ANE’s work, people #ListenToEngineers.
As a final highlight of the year, I would like to mention our report on Competences for a Sustainable Future. To me, it is an excellent showcase of the importance of our cooperation in ANE. This skills analysis is the first of its kind, a new piece in the puzzle of the green transition.
The report provides a unique picture of particular future STEM skills needed to drive the ongoing and necessary development of a greener Nordic energy sector. It also confirms an urgent need for more engineers with these skills and better provisions for green upskilling and reskilling of the existing STEM workforce if we are to succeed with the green energy transition.
For ANE, 2022 was indeed a great and busy year, and these were just a few of our many activities. Soon a new year will begin, and we will embark on the work described in our new Strategy for 2023-2025. We already have many inspiring activities planned, so it wouldn’t surprise me if next year will be just as exciting. I will keep you posted!
Thank you to our member organisations and the many people we have worked with in 2022.
I wish everyone a happy, safe, and peaceful 2023.