How gender equality matters

Today, March 8, International Women's Day, we are proud to recognize five of our committed female co-workers who share their thoughts about gender equality and why they are proud to work at SMT.

Our work on diversity, equality and inclusion focuses on accelerating our equality and diversity work that ensures an inclusive working environment where people can develop and contribute to their full potential.

Tube Division, Sandviken, Sweden, Catrin (Tina) Pettersson

“I want to show all the girls who hold themselves back and think they can’t do this work - we can! I want to share that this is the coolest workplace in the world”, Catrin (Tina) Pettersson, Tube DivisionTina works at the steel mill in Sandviken. She has a strong message for women who are interested in applying for a job at SMT: “We must stand up for our girls for the future; women have stood back for too long. I want to show all the girls who hold themselves back and think they can’t do this work - we can! I want to share that this is the coolest workplace in the world”.

What does your SMT journey look like?
After many years of experience in various industries, I came to the steel mill via a recruitment agency. When I received a direct offer to return to a role, I did not hesitate for a second to say yes. I love it! At every shift I ask myself: "am I really part of this?" It is a privilege to get such a trust in contributing to the very important part of steel production. Several of my colleagues are very competent professionals who have worked with this for 40 years. It is an extremely interesting process to produce special steels. I think it is very exciting with the contrasts, between the raw environment where it smokes, burns, and roars and the specialized competence and precision required to produce different types of steel.

What does equality in the workplace mean to you?
Gender equality = everyone has the same value. It does not matter what gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity you have, to do a good job. Discrimination is not only related to gender but happens to both men and women, for example, for status or where you come from. I do not think it’s appropriate in 2022. Your gender or sexual orientation does not make you a worse melter; it has absolutely nothing to do with your performance! We are a few girls here, but we are far too few.

What makes you proud to work at SMT?
Above all, the incredible knowledge bank that exists here. So many colleagues who are passionate about doing the job right. It makes me proud to play in the same line as these competent people, to watch, take in and learn some of the enormous competence they possess. My heart is touched by this.

Strip division, Sandviken, Sweden, Cecilia Hagelin

“Gender equality in the workplace for me means to have the same conditions to be able to work shifts as a single parent as someone who does not have children”, Cecilia Hagelin, Strip DivisionWhat does your SMT journey look like?
I started at SMT in 2018 and was lucky to get recruited by an agency to my current job as a freight forwarder, and already after a year I got the chance to be hired as an employee. Since then, I have had several opportunities to develop and learn new things in many different areas within Team Service. During this period of time, there have also been changes in my private life. It is not easy to cope with shift-work as a single mom with small children. I am grateful to work in a work team that is there for me and covers for the hour I sometimes need to come in later or leave earlier. It’s made possible thanks to good planning and my work team!

What does gender equality in the workplace mean to you?
Gender equality in the workplace for me means to have the same conditions to be able to work shifts as a single parent as someone who does not have children or has other favorable conditions. In addition, it means that it does not matter if you are weak or strong, tall, or short or what your gender is, to be able to do the job.

What makes you proud to work at SMT?
I am proud to have an employer that offers opportunities for a great career development. There is also good support for rehab, benefits via staff associations and help from foundations for expensive dental care in Sweden. And of course, I am proud to be part of a great team where everyone works towards the same goal!

Tube division in Chomutov, Czech Republic, Veronika Čermáková

“I am proud to be a part of SMT because of all the trustworthy people who work here. It is a company that respects its employees and does its best for them”, Veronika Čermáková, Tube divisionWhat does your SMT journey look like?
I joined the company in 2004 as a production operator. After two years I was transferred to the welding workplace, where I am still working. I like my job as a welding operator and that is why I have stayed her for already 18 years. I really enjoy my work - I like the fact that I am part of creating something new. And of course, it's also about the people - we have a great team here!

What does equality in the workplace mean to you?
Equality for me means simply that there is no difference between men and women. It is not easy to talk about equality at SMT from an overall perspective. I think it really depends on the type of the workplace and role you have. But I think the equality situation is pretty good in our company.

What makes you proud to work at SMT?
I am proud to be a part of SMT because of all the trustworthy people who work here. It is a company that respects its employees and does its best for them.

Business Unit Medical producing EXERA® fine wire, Palm Coast, U.S., Ashley Sims

“Equality means always having fair opportunities for each and every employee regardless of gender, race etc.”, Ashley Sims, EXERAWhat does your SMT journey look like?
I started at SMT in 2017 as a Third Shift operator where I learned the coating process, the patience and feel with smaller diameter wires. Shortly after, I begun working with our Engineering department and their new development parts for future and current products we now manufacture. This then led me to my first appointment as Lead in the New Product Development area and with that knowledge and continuous learning I gained my current Lead role/position in our key Precious Metals area at our Palm Coast PU.

What does equality in the workplace mean to you?
Always having fair opportunities for each and every employee regardless of gender, race etc. This is very important.

What makes you proud to work at SMT?
Learning and hearing about what our Exera® wire-based products do for people is truly inspiring and maintains the drive each and every day with the manufacture of these products. In addition to this, the people I work directly with every day are equally as inspirational.

Kanthal division, Hallstahammar, Sweden, Kristina Starborg

“We must all strive for an equal, fair, and inclusive work environment. And counteracting exclusion and injustice”, Kristina Starborg, Kanthal divisionWhat does your SMT journey look like?
I started at Kanthal in September 1999 and have always worked in production with various tasks, such as rod manufacturer, traverse driver at Götvalsverket, packer at both Drageriet and Heating Systems, and goods receiver / truck driver. The job I have now is as an element manufacturer at Heating systems. We are a great team who work well together. There is an even ratio of gender, age, and ethnicity and therefore I believe that our team serves as a good role model for others.

What does gender equality in the workplace mean to you?
My understanding is that we are all treated equally by the company, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, or your ethnicity or sexual orientation, etc. It is also important that there is equal pay for the same work performed regardless of your gender.

What makes you proud to work at SMT?
What makes me proud to work at SMT is that the company takes good care of its employees in various ways, and that there is a lot of focus on safety, gender equality and inclusion. We must all strive for an equal, fair, and inclusive work environment. And counteracting exclusion and injustice is something that I think is very important. We all equally valuable! Together we are strong!

About International Women's Day

​International Women's Day is held annually on 8 March around the world to recognize women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, dating back as early as 1909. It is an occasion to raise awareness, and to recognize the accomplishments of the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. The United Nations celebrated its first official International Women's Day on 8 March in 1975.