New figures released by the Executive Board reveal that there are enough eligible women in the ‘pipeline’. For example, at RSM women occupy one-third of assistant professor positions. When it comes to endowed professors, a position that is often a gateway to an appointment as a full professor, three out of ten are women. There is even more ‘leakage in the pipeline’ at ESE. There, two out of ten associate professors are women. Likewise, one out of eight endowed professors is female, but there is only one female full professor among 36 male colleagues.

The ESL and ESHCC faculties, along with the ISS and ESHPM institutes are faring better with the percentage of female professors already topping 20 percent.

Female academic staff as of 31 January 2018: The appointment of Renske Keijzer as a ‘Westerdijk professor’ at ESSB occurred just after this survey date. 

Only four

An attempt by the Ministry of Education to facilitate the appointment of 100 additional professors, known as the Westerdijk Talent Impuls, ended in failure at Erasmus University: only four of the nine available subsidies made available to the faculties were used.

The Executive Board made no secret of their disappointment regarding the lack of action at the faculties. During the University Council meeting held last Tuesday, outgoing Rector Huib Pols once again emphasised that the power to effect change lies with the Deans. “As Rector, I don’t have much influence in this matter, while the Deans are in a position to do much more. But that ultimately makes it a question of being willing to take steps to bring about changes,” said Pols in response to the disappointing results of the Westerdijk initiative. Pols did however acknowledge that it is difficult for RSM to retain or attract talented women. “Many of the most talented women leave for positions with large corporation.”

No response

To achieve the 2020 targets in spite of the setbacks, the Executive Board wants to launch a ‘programme similar to’ the Westerdijk initiative. Many women will also be given the opportunity to advance from endowed professor to regular professor. Additional measures include the appointment of diversity officers or diversity teams at the faculties, a ‘recruitment and selection toolkit’, and training sessions to counter implicit bias.

At the University Council’s request, the Executive Board recently asked the faculties to explain why they failed in their efforts to find female candidates for the Westerdijk subsidies. While the faculties have yet to respond to the Executive Board’s query, a few faculties did provide an explanation to EM.