Dutch universities must appoint a hundred extra women professors this year, Minister Bussemaker announced in January. To achieve this, she has made 5 million euros available. From this budget, EUR may request seven times a sum of 50,000 euros for the appointment of a woman in a professorship.

One request has currently been submitted: the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague will probably have the first EUR ‘Westerdijk’ professor. The other appointments must be made by 10 February 2018. “This will be difficult because February is already fairly close, but we are working hard on it,” says a spokesperson from the university. It is not known whether this period will be extended.

Two extra positions

The Executive Board is paying the two extra positions in order to accommodate all seven faculties as well as the two institutes. The faculties may decide for themselves whether they spend the 50,000 euros on the increased salary costs (compared with a university lecturer) or on the research budget of the appointed full professor.

Who will be eligible for the positions? Candidates are women who accept a new or existing chair and they may come from inside or outside the university. The positions are particularly interesting for current associate professors or endowed professors who ‘move up’. The appointments within this ‘Westerdijk Talent Scheme’ are separate from the existing objectives of EUR: 20 percent women professors in 2020 and 25 percent in 2025.

‘Not fast enough’

There are a few more rules: for example, the women may not have been a full professor anywhere else in the Netherlands. The appointment must also be for a minimum of five years, have the prospect of a permanent position and must be at least two days a week. The budget applies for five years, after which the universities will have to pay the chair themselves.

“In the Netherlands things simply don’t go fast enough,” according to the Minister when explaining her measure earlier this year. She feels that universities leave a lot of talent unused, in the form of women students or PhD students who fail to be given a position. The Westerdijk Talent Scheme was therefore named after the first woman professor Johanna Westerdijk, who started exactly a hundred years ago this year.