While they work longer hours, their salary isn’t higher, according to the monitor. Women are often in a lower scale than men. This may partly be due to their age, because female professors are usually younger than their male colleagues. Earlier research shows that it is probably not the entire explanation.

Great jump

Just as figures from October showed, the researchers found that in 2018 progress was made in the number of female professors. The forecasts have been adjusted: at this rate, proportional representation of men and women is established faster. Yet it would still take more than 20 years.

On the list of Dutch universities Erasmus University is at the bottom with 14.5 percent female professors. The university confirms this figure, but also indicates that after this measurement in 2018, major steps have been taken and that the share is now around 18 percent, 2 percentage points below the target for 2020. This is partly due to the fact that last year, many female endowed professors have been promoted to full professorships.


Nationally, there are now 685 female professors, compared to 2.272 male professors (calculated in full-time jobs). The spike was partly caused by the so-called Westerdijk Talent Incentive: a sum of five million euros to appoint a hundred female professors: 50 thousand euros per appointment.

What the exact effect of this impulse is, will only be clear in 2020. One thing is already clear: these women won’t count towards the universities’ own targets. The universities must achieve their targets, excluding these appointments, otherwise they’ll have to repay the money for these Westerdijk professors. This was a political cleverness from Jet Bussemaker, the former minister of Education.


The figures about female professors differ from the tables that the VSNU university association has on its website. They lead to a slightly different ranking.

Maastricht in particular is doing better in the monitor: the university is no longer number five (as the Higher Education Press Agency reported earlier), but is now suddenly in second place. This is because the monitor omits the entire field of health. As a result, Maastricht is rising 3.6 percentage points to 29.7 percent female professors.

Why does the monitor do that? Because most health scientists are employed by academic hospitals. That is why these university figures say nothing about the field of health as a whole. Unlike the VSNU, the makers of the monitor chose to omit the entire discipline. This also includes courses such as health sciences and dentistry, which still fall under the umbrella of the universities.

However, the researchers of the monitor did ask the academic hospitals how many male and female professors they employ: between 20 and 30 percent was the outcome, with the VU Medical Center at the top and Erasmus MC at the bottom.

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