A purple staircase. On the bottom step a female professor, three steps higher is a male professor. He is almost at the end of the stairs.
(Illustration: Marjolein van der Veldt)

An increasing number of women are working at Dutch universities. Yet in Delft, the number of female professors decreased; at TU Delft, less than 1 in 5 professors are women.

Lees in het Nederlands

At the Dutch universities there are now as many women teaching at the universities as there are female PhD candidates. This emerges from the latest statistic regarding personnel at Dutch universities. Women represent 44.5 percent of all PhD candidates and the same now applies to university lecturers. There are also an increasing number of women professors and associate professors: 27 percent and 32 percent respectively.

Furthermore, the increase seems to be progressing more quickly than before. In the last ten years, the percentage of women professors has risen by 12 percentage points. In the last ten years before that, the figure was 8 percentage points.

This is due partly to the efforts of former Education Minister Jet Bussemaker (PvdA), who in 2017 asked the universities to appoint an additional 100 women professors in that same year. That number was in addition to the target figures that the universities had already set.

Decline in Delft
Nevertheless, there are universities where the proportion of women professors declined last year. They include both the frontrunner, the Open University, and the bottom-placed institution, TU Delft. The decrease at the latter, however, can be seen only after the decimal point. In 2020, 17.9 percent of professors were women; in 2021, the percentage dropped to 17.7 percent. The only other decline in the proportion of women professors was at Radboud University Nijmegen.

 

The universities have set target figures for the proportion of women professors in 2025. They did so last year at the request of the Dutch Network of Women Professors. According to forecasts made by the network, only Wageningen, Delft and the University of Amsterdam might have difficulty attaining their target figure.

Of the three, TU Delft has the lowest target: 25 percent by 2025. TU Eindhoven, University of Twente and Erasmus University Rotterdam are also aiming for the same percentage of female professors in three years' time. Eindhoven and Twente are well on their way with 20 percent and 21 percent respectively. For Erasmus University, the target is even within reach, the meter there stalled at 24 percent last year.

HOP, Bas Belleman