Marien van der Meer
Vice president operations Marien van der Meer during the celebration of International Women’s Day 2022. (Photo: Guus Schoonewille)

A quarter of the world’s top 200 universities have a female president, Times Higher Education reports. How about in the Netherlands?

Lees in het Nederlands

The universities of Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) all have a female president. These are four of the five top universities in Times Higher Education’s ranking.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the British magazine published an overview showing that 48 of the 200 top-ranking universities in the world are run by a female president or vice-chancellor, up from 43 last year. Over the last five years, this number has almost doubled.

The Netherlands second worldwide
France has the highest percentage of elite universities run by women: three of the five French universities in the top 200 have a woman at the helm. This is true for half the Dutch universities in the ranking, earning the Netherlands a second place spot. Third place is shared by the UK and the US, where just over a quarter of the top institutions are run by women. Not all countries in the ranking are performing as well in terms of gender equality. Of the 27 countries with universities in the top 200, 12 have no female presidents at all.

This year’s Times Higher Education world ranking includes ten Dutch universities. Five of these have a female president: Wageningen University & Research (Sjoukje Heimovaara), the University of Amsterdam (Geert ten Dam), Leiden University (Annetje Ottow), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Mirjam van Praag) and Maastricht University (Rianne Letschert).

TU Delft
The other Dutch universities in the top 200 do not have a female president and are therefore not included in the count, even if they have a female rector magnificus or vice-president. This is the case for Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, Groningen University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen. A woman has been on the TU Delft’s executive board for many years. Since August 2021, that has been vice president of operations Marien van der Meer. Anka Mulder and Nicoly Vermeulen preceded her in that position.

Eindhoven University of Technology, Tilburg University and the University of Twente, which were not included in the top 200, are all led by male presidents.

HOP, Peer van Tetterode
Translation: Taalcentrum-VU