Category Archives: Feminine leadership

Can an algorithm discriminate? Is the LinkedIn Pulse algorithm ignoring blog posts that have a feminist leadership approach?

I’m one of those lucky people who often get my LinkedIn blog posts featured in LinkedIn’s different Pulse categories. If you want to create lots of engagement and reach further than your own network you need to get in there.

I know that they use both editors and an algorithm to manage the content and decide which posts will be featured in their Pulse channels.

When another of my articles that had a feminist message was ignored and not featured I emailed LinkedIn’s customer service team. It must have been the third post in five weeks.

Anyone else had problems with this? Do you feel that stories about feminism get ditched?

** There was a period when I turned off my notification button on my LinkedIn profile and then none of my network got to know about my posts and the algorithm didn’t pick them up. Now that it is on again LinkedIn seems to pick up quite a few of my posts.

Here is my conversation with LinkedIn about the problem. LinkedIn is the only social media company that I’ve been in contact with that have a customer service support function that feels okay and even has a human touch in the way they reply. Gold star for that!

Subject: None of my posts about feminism get featured in Pulse

Your Question: Hello,

My posts often get featured in Pulse but every time I write about feminism or something that is about equality my posts get little attention.

Are your editors all sexist men?

Sorry, it has happened many times now and it is very disturbing.

This is the latest post:

Thank you, Sofie.

Hi Sofie,

Thanks for contacting us.

Please know I have reviewed the link you have provided and would like to confirm that I’m able to view the article.

Kindly let me know why you feel the articles posted by you are not available on the site.

Looking forward to your response!


Safety operation support specialist

Hello Anastasia,

As you can read in my question it’s not about if you can view my post or not, it is about the fact that none of my posts that touch on feminism are ever featured on Pulse and I would like to know why.

It seems to me that there is an unconscious bias affecting what your editors and the LinkedIn Pulse algorithm choose to feature.

This is the issue I’m raising.

Thanks, Sofie.

Hi Sofie,

Thanks for reaching out about that your posts about feminism are not being featured in Pulse and you feel that this is intentional either through editor bias or through our algorithm that is used to determine which posts are feature.

I’ve sent your feedback to our product team about how you feel about your posts not being featured. Please note that as outlined in the included link our Pulse articles that get featured are determined by an algorithm and some other variables to help match the right content in the article to the right member as we do try to allow for posts that go organically viral to be featured in Pulse: Long-Form Posts Featured in Pulse

We are always evaluating the algorithm used and I have passed along this feedback to our product team so that they can review it for any unintentional bias in the formula.

Please don’t hesitate to send any suggestions for improvements in the future.

Warmest Regards,

Customer Support Specialist

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7 practical ways to be a feminist and equaliser on social media

The media and social media reflect the world in many ways.

By this I mean newspapers, magazines, TV, advertising and Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, etc.

Here are some practical tips for those of you who want your message to be more inclusive and who want to make the world a little bit more equal. Remember, micro-action matters. Always.

1) Use a photographer that think diversity matters 
Hire a photographer who thinks about diversity in their work and make sure you get cool shots that are not sexist and stereotyping people. You have to do your research and check the photographer’s portfolio, blog and social media accounts. In Sweden, there is a photographer who calls himself the ‘gender photographer’, his name is Tomas Gunnarsson. There is an online magazine you can download on his site, it’s in Swedish at the moment, maybe there will be a translation in the future.

2) Implement new rules and break the norms
When you are choosing images, you must have some options that are different from the ‘norm’. Why share normative and stereotyped photos at all? Be more creative and think differently.

3) Avoid sexist stock images
Stock images often have a stereotyped feeling about them. Commission new photos and get them into your library. I know a surf school in Sweden that used an image of men surfing and actively trimming while a young woman sat passively on the front of a surfboard. This doesn’t send out the right signals.

4) Break the selfie norm
Take selfies that breaks the norm and share them online. Break all sexist rules there are.

5) Stories and numbers 
Count the stories you have featured in the last few months and see which sections and themes feature men and women. You need to analyse your media flow to be able to correct it.

6) Expand your contact list
When you are looking for an authority on a current topic that is big in social media, search for a person that falls outside of the ‘white male expert’ norm. Have a look at the All Male Tumblr blog; the event organisers who end up in there have short lists. This looks weird. It’s a good idea to add experts to your list before you even think about hosting an event. If you don’t, you may end up using the same old people as always. New perspectives and new experiences will enhance your stories and events.

7) Analyse your messages you share online 
If your job is to share messages and communicate online, you need to analyse and discuss how your message will be perceived. It still seems to be the case that a lot of ads, articles and social media posts that are being put together without anyone thinking twice about how their brand comes across.

To be part of the modern world on social media, you need to put on your ‘diversity hat’, think, discuss and analyse and discuss again. If you are doing this for the first time it should feel uncomfortable; this is because your brain is building new neurons and pathways. It hurts to pave the way for new connections in the brain, but when they’re there it feels awesome.


Image from Wikipedia.

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Behind every enlightened man there is an exhausted feminist

Yes, this is the reality. Men learn from women’s stories and experiences, and after that they discover that the world is not equal.

For years, I’ve been pointing out to male moderators and speakers that it’s not right to have a panel made up of men only. Some of them have come back to me telling me that they now feel uncomfortable interviewing a panel made up of men only.

Men, your best educators about equality and fairness may be the women you have around you. Here is a guide for how to learn more about the world, a world that still has a lot of inequality in it.

1) Listen when a woman shares her experiences. Don’t interrupt or make a joke that belittles the feelings she has about something in her life. Many men act as if their knowledge always prevails and their perspective is the only one that counts.


2) If you know a woman who is in a row with mean, sexist women-haters online go in and support her. How hard can it be? Send her a message or comment on her posts on social media. Doing that as a man, you are going to be seen as a hero.

3) There are lots of documentaries, books, blogs and radio programmes about the gender equality movement around the world. Set yourself up for a month studying equality, diversity and the feminist movement.


4) At work and in other contexts be the one who points out when language and behaviour are sexist. It takes courage to do that, but after a while you strengthen your voice.

5) Don’t push women to explain in detail what they mean by feminism and argue forever about it. It is a touchy subject and has many meanings depending on context and culture. It’s the same with words like democracy, which is also hard to define precisely. Feminism is broad and complicated and there are many opinions and stories that together create the movement.


6) Support the women you know. Acknowledge that they may experience things you’ve never heard about and just because it has not happened to you it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

7) Equality and feminism is a social justice movement. It’s big, complicated and has been alive for hundreds of years. It’s here to stay and won’t go away just because you ignore it.

8) Women rights, human rights and children’s rights are all connected. Better rights for women means better rights for humans. Equal rights for women means better rights for children. It’s all connected and you can be part of that too.

Whatever anyone tells you, you matter and what you do matters.

Thank you for reading and have a great day.

Stay strong!


I read every email, comment, and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out. To tweet me connect on @Soffi_Propp.

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How much time should we spend improving the world?

We are all sent to this earth to live one life with other human beings, with animals and with nature.

How long can you expect to live? If you are lucky maybe 100 years. Some will die younger and leave their loved ones with a painful feeling of emptiness in their souls.

Recently the activist in me awoke when I was in a Swedish airport. I saw sexist fridge magnets were being sold in a luxury souvenir shop. In my opinion, sexism does not match with a government-owned airport.

What did I do?

1) First, I wrote a blog post about the topic on my blog. I published it on my Facebook page.

2) Then I posted it on three groups on Facebook for Swedish people around the world.

3) I also emailed the press officer at Swedavia, the company that owns the airport.

Writing the blog post took me 10 minutes and probably 20 minutes of editing. Posting it on the Facebook group pages took about 10 minutes and the email I sent to Swedavia was also written in 10 minutes.

This is my activist blueprint that you can copy. In total my activism took less than an hour.

Why does what you do matter and should you care about anything other than your next meal?

If nobody cared about anything we would not have developed any institutions, we would not have any hospitals, no schools, no law, no sports and no supermarkets.

Somehow people have cared enough to give people healthcare and medicine, education and the law, which makes it easier for us to live together in a complex society, and thanks to supermarkets we can buy food that is okay for us to eat.

One of the side effects of pointing out that something is not fair or not working is that you are going to be told that your thoughts and ideas don’t matter, they are not important, we have other more important things to manage first. This is a reality everywhere in the world.

If you wonder what happened to me when I posted about the fridge magnets on the Facebook groups for Swedes: I was exposed to all kinds of harassment and bullying. Yes, that is what happened and I had to delete one thread because of threats and one was deleted by an admin.

Harsh online comments are one of the side effects of posting about activism online. Trolls are lurking on Facebook. Sensitive topics such as equality, politics, religion and fridge magnets may start a storm.

Here is a collection of the comments I received (I’m not including the really nasty ones), and some of the answers I wrote back, or just thought in my mind.

You have too much time, get a life.
– We all have 168 hours per week and we all make a choice what to do with the time we have.

Just typical Swedish PC (political correctness).
– This is a common argument if you point out that something does not belong in 2016.

I think the fridge magnets are pretty, I will buy them all next time I’m there.
– Okay, I don’t care what you decorate your fridge with, but they shouldn’t be sold in an airport.

There are worse problems in the world, get a life.
– Thank you for your lifestyle advice. I run my own life and do whatever I want with it.

Don’t take yourself so seriously.
– Thank you for your great tips. I will immediately stop taking myself too seriously.

This is nothing to get annoyed about, don’t you have anything else in life to think about that is more important?
– Obviously not, if I need your coaching again I will get in touch.

Relax, you are too easily offended.
– I’m not, actually. I put up with lots of shit every day and it’s only sometimes that I share my thoughts about it.

You are sexist too, as you don’t seem to care about men at all.
– Hmm…

There are women in the world that have it much worse than you, why don’t you go and help the kidnapped ISIS women instead?
– Yes, let’s all get overwhelmed and don’t do anything about anything, just watch reality TV and prepare our next meal.

You are wrong, these symbols mean nothing.
– They do.

Do you really have to cry out on Facebook? Don’t be so bl**dy short-tempered.
– I’m not crying, I’m just pointing out that these magnets doesn’t belong in an airport.

You don’t have to purchase the magnets or anything in the shop.
-Thank you for the information, I will remember that next time I’m in an airport and will write a note to myself so I remember. ‘I don’t have to purchase the magnets.’

These magnets are funny, put your energy into something more important.
– Yes, they make me laugh out loud, so funny! Can’t help it.

There are worse things to worry about, just think about what ISIS does to women.
– Yes, we can all die tomorrow. Why do anything to improve the world? *Great feeling*

It’s a joke, playing on stereotypes. There are more important problems in the world, aren’t there?
– I hate the argument that there are ‘bigger’ things to care about. It’s a stone-age mentality.

I hate Swedish people, especially women.
– Okay, sounds like you have some deeper issues.

You wear far too much make-up to be a good role-model for young women.
– Do I? And by the way, wearing make-up and being a role-model have nothing to do with each other.

We can all die tomorrow. Why do anything that may leave some trace of our presence on earth?

If our lives mean nothing then we should just not bother to do anything creative.

Why improve anything at all? Why plant trees and organise a garden? Why build a house? Why help children with their homework? Why compose music? Why write books? Why blog? Why eat healthy food? Why do any sports? Why run a YouTube channel?

I can share thousands of activities that are utterly meaningless unless we put meaning into them. Strangely enough, as humans, we add meaning to the things we do. We give the life we live meaning, somehow.

In my case, I took the time to share my thoughts about the fridge magnets. It was meaningful to me at that moment.

I stood up for my values. You can too.

All activism starts with one person thinking something is wrong and that we should do something about it. A small thought or a tiny ‘baby-idea’ is all it takes to start change. Micro-actions matter.

Every day we make several choices. You can make a different choice than you did the day before. But it only works if you want to make a different choice. You need to tell your mind that tomorrow I will do something different.

We can all be active in the community we live in. Everyone can put in some energy to change something for the better, if not every week, then maybe once a year.

Change can happen but it takes effort, thought and an idea of what a better world would look like.

My friends, stay strong and try to think just a tiny bit outside your own habitual life. It works and is incredibly inspiring and rewarding.



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I read every email, comment, and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out. To tweet me connect on @Soffi_Propp.


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Everyday sexism in organisations run mainly by volunteers

If you are a woman and you get involved in a volunteer-run nonprofit organisation there is one side effect that nobody talks about. At least I never heard about it when I started my involvement as a member in various volunteer-led networks.

All women will be exposed to sexism and discrimination to some degree while they are volunteering. Not everyone will acknowledge this as a problem, but I would argue that it is big and far more common than we dare to say out loud.

Most workplaces discriminate against women. If in doubt please just google ‘discrimination in the workplace’. There are thousands of reports published on the subject in all languages. The pattern follows in volunteer-run organisations as well.

Sexism comes in many forms, from verbal comments to weird emails, to behaviour that should just not be accepted. Some people think it’s okay to loudly comment on a woman’s body, but when that comment is not welcome it is sexism. The line between a welcome and unwelcome comment is debated, but more or less all men who are accused of making an inappropriate comment say things like, ‘It was just a joke. Don’t take yourself so blo*dy seriously. Relax, I meant nothing by it.’

You’ll find everyday sexism in every corner of society. 

As long as everyone behaves in an acceptable way the atmosphere in a group of volunteers is going to be fine. But when one individual thinks that the behaviour of another individual is not acceptable you’ll have a problem. It can mean big problem, and it is up to the leaders to do something about it.

You can choose to deal with it or try to ignore it. Many people who volunteer have too much going on in their lives, so the choice to ignore the problem may not be based on their values and what they think is right or wrong, but on a lack of time, energy and knowledge of what a solution would look like.

I attend and speak at conferences. Some of them are organised on a voluntary basis, as in that the conference is a side-project to peoples’ normal job. In the last few years there has been a trend among conference organisers of adopting a code of conduct, you can find it online.

Conference Code of Conduct

‘Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Sponsors are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, sponsors should not use sexualised images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualised clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualised environment.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Conference staff can be identified as they’ll be wearing branded t-shirts.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at conference and workshop venues and conference-related social events.’

This is describing what’s unacceptable and offers good guidelines and hopefully all organisers of events it will read it. I suggest that more volunteer organisations are adopting this, or something similar, for all their activities.

One of my personal examples of discrimination and sexism in a nonprofit organisation happened years ago when I was a member of a Toastmasters club. This is an organisation that helps you develop your public speaking skills, a great mission.

The issue was that there was a man there, who I only had spoken to for ten minutes in total, fell in love with me and to show his ‘love’ he put together a package with a book of over 50 love poems, a two-page-long love-letter about our future together, some CD’s with music, the movie Top Gun and a photo of him.

It was a bit much for me.

I felt I could not go back there again with worrying he would be there. The board members agreed in a meeting that he could stay for three months and if he behaved during this period he could remain.

This didn’t make me feel safe.

The next time he was there I asked him to not attend the club anymore and that his letter and poems were creepy. He screamed out loud in protest.

Hands pointing sad girl

A few days later I got a threatening email from the president of the Toastmaster club, a man in his mid-30s. He told me that I had to write a sincere apology to the board members because I had acted myself in asking a member to leave.

Double whammy, and doubly shaming.

I never went back again. There is no chance in the world that I will apologise for doing what was necessary. The letter and poems were reported to the police, and they have his name in case he does the same to others.

One thing that surprised me was the total lack of support from female members. They had been giving talks about equality and how to be a good human being, but when this happened to me some of them even removed me as a friend on social media.

If you are a leader in a volunteer organisation there will be moments when you are going to have to deal with these kinds of issues. How prepared are you? How would you react? Who is it important to protect?

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I read every email, comment, and tweet that you send me, so please do reach out. To tweet me connect on @Soffi_Propp.

Photo from Fotolia by victorbrave

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Sexist fridge magnets with bouncing breasts promoting Sweden

I was flying out of Landvetter Airport, Gothenburg Sweden, the other day and as usual, I was walking around the souvenir shop before heading to the gate.

One of my friends is a keen fridge magnet collector and I thought about getting one as a gift for her. When scanning what was on the board I saw two fridge magnets with busty girls in Swedish flag bikinis, one of them even had bouncing breast you could play with. I have to say that I was disappointed that a shop that sells exclusive gifts from Sweden was also promoting the sexist image of the ‘svenska flicka’, or Swedish girl. Swedish famous designer brands like Kosta Boda, Orrefors and Målerås were sold next to sexist symbols.

Swedish busty women

The fridge magnets present the myth of Swedish women as easy and permanently horny. The Swedish sin tale has its root in movies. It started in the 50s in a Swedish film where you could see a woman’s tits, and then Ingmar Bergman did a film with unprotected sex outside marriage in it. Totally outrageous content don’t you think!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen men light up when I say I’m Swedish. They immediately think about liberal sex without any obligations. It’s not a huge problem, I can live with it. But hello, you are an airport selling exclusive gifts from Sweden, not a sloppy souvenir shop.

Sweden is a feminist country, our politicians are telling foreign media about it all the time, and these kinds of misogynistic symbols should not be the gift that we send tourists home with.

We are a diverse country and stereotyping us is not fair. People always ask me if I’m a real Swede just because I have brown hair. I know it may sound stupid, but it happens all the time when I travel in my work and when I’m in London.

What do you think? Should Sweden promote blonds with bouncing breasts in Swedish flag bikinis and Viking men in the airport?

If yes at least you should have equally sexy Swedish hunks, a few brunettes in bikinis and why not Viking women as well. The Vikings were pro-equality, and I’m sure the women wore helmets with horns.

Shape up Landvetter Airport and review what you sell to tourists. You can do better.

If you are thinking about visiting Sweden read more on Tripadvisor.

UPDATE 25th May

I contacted the press officer at Swedavia on Friday 20th May, this is the company that runs all major airports in Sweden. They got back to me immediately. On Tuesday 24th May they got back to me again and confirmed that the fridge magnet had been removed. They also wrote that this kind of sexists content was not in line with Swedavia’s Code of Conduct.

The blog post was shared all over Facebook and Swedish media mentioned it as well.

I shared my blog post in three Facebook groups for Swedish people around the world. One was full of sexist Swedish men, I had to remove the post there. One was full of sexist Swedish women, and unfortunately, an admin removed the post, and then they blocked me from the group. It’s still in LondonSvenskar a 14,000 plus group on Facebook, the discussion in this group was balanced.

ETC:se Facebook




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Social Media Q&A

Do you have any questions about life in relation to social media?

Send an email with your question to Sofie Sandell for a chance to get it published here.

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