Equalisters (Rättviseförmedlingen) was a non-profit foundation and digital movement aiming to create a more democratic society by fighting the self-perpetuating cycle of underrepresentation. Through their work they challenged the perception that there are no other suitable representatives or that it is too hard to find other persons that break the norm, with the required competence. Equalisters raised awareness, challenged stereotype ideas on gender, origin and physical abilities & improved visibility for competent people from underrepresented groups, as a modern way to work against discrimination. There are alternatives to what is represented today & society gains from bringing forward a more diverse representation. The core of Equalisters consisted of an ever-growing network on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram with more than 140,000 followers that every day – completely non-profit – contributed with tips, helped finding expertise and talented people.
Since the start in 2010, Equalisters have showed that ”they don’t exist” usually was a rewrite for ”I don’t know anyone”. Together with their followers, they helped companies, organizations and individuals to find competence that otherwise would have risked being excluded due to stereotype ideas on gender, origin or physical abilities. They helped projects, companies or editorials who were looking for people with a certain competence. They did calls through want ads on social media where they gathered tips together with their followers, of people that had the desired competence, but that also did not follow the norm. Further, they compiled the gathered tips in lists and published them on our website. Their solution was two fold; they helped the ones who requested our help initially, and the tips were gathered and archived as lists in order for more people to use. Thus they disproved perceptions of who is suited to do what. Equalisters made a change in society.
In addition to engaging people in social media with an interest in gender equality, diversity and equality, the organization gathered experience of successful equality work. They educated news rooms, management teams, personnel departments and many others on issues related to diversity, representation in the media, competence based recruitment and strategies for equality work. They focused on finding solutions and presenting methods that were concrete and could be practiced at a cultural, strategic and operational level.
Equalisters made all of Sweden understand that representation matters. When Equalisters started in 2010 the method was ground breaking:
1. Count representation in different contexts
2. Highlight and focus on the norm
3. Search for others who can broaden the context – searching new networks and channels
A lot of people thought it was strange to count. Today (2019), it is expected that organizations, editors and workplaces actively count and work to broaden their representation. Together, we have changed the norm for how to work with equality. When Ekot Swedish Radio expects diversity based on the background of the MPs after the election, when Financial Times develops a tool for counting women and men in their articles, when we see more and more people who on their own are calling and searching for other than the norm in social media, it is time for us to step aside. Equalisters never waited for the time to pass or for society to become more equal. Change requires initiative. We have done that. Now we step aside and give space for all those who will take the work and fight forward with new methods.