It was as if the number 99 was the recurring theme of the meeting held at Novotel on Thursday afternoon to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March). At the start of her speech, Semiha Denktaş referred to the Global Gender Gap report, which contains a prediction that it will take another 99 years to bridge the gender gap. “On the other hand, I’m proud to be able to tell you here that we are about to embark on 25/25 with 99 talented female academics. Even though we may have about 99 different types of problems, a lack of female talent definitely isn’t one of them.” The attendees applauded.

Women professors

Denktaş launched the 25/25 policy’, as it is officially known, at the Advancing Social Equity in Academia conference held in late 2019. The policy is the university’s attempt to ensure that 25 percent of its full professors will be female by 2025. One hundred and one women applied for the programme. Ninety-nine of them will embark on its activities soon.

The policy is designed to support assistant professors who hope to be promoted to an associate professorship in the next two or three years, as well as associate professors who hope to be appointed full professors within the next two years.

kasteel diversiteit interview semiha denktas – Elzeline Kooy

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Among other things, the programme features mentoring by senior academics, workshops, help designing a portfolio and independent and confidential advice issued by a committee comprised of full professors. Depending on the recommendation issued by that committee, the participants may be allowed to apply for a €10,000 grant that will allow them to fill the lacunae in their portfolios.

The participants represent all EUR faculties except Erasmus MC. Candidates could either self-nominate or be nominated by others. The programme will kick off on Thursday, 19 March.