The initiators drew inspiration from a recommendation formulated by the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). The SER proposes requiring listed companies to adopt an ‘ease-in quota’ of 30 percent for their board-level positions. An ‘ease-in quota’ means that you don’t have to immediately satisfy this requirement – rather, you keep a vacancy open until it can be filled by the right female candidate. “This isn’t an obligation for semi-public organisations, but the SER recommends adopting it nonetheless,” says Klasen.
Quota is already met
Incidentally, Erasmus University already meets the suggested quota. “We have one woman on the Executive Board – and until quite recently, two even,” notes Klasen. And three out of ten deans are women: exactly 30 percent, in other words. It should be noted that the deans in question work for EUR’s two smallest institutes: Gabriele Jacobs at Erasmus University College and Inge Hutter at the International Institute for Social Studies. Suzan Stoter is the only woman dean found at a larger faculty: Erasmus School of Law. EUR’s main traditional faculties – Economics, Business Administration and Medicine – have always been ‘run’ by men. So there’s still room for improvement there, in Klasen’s view. Until recently, EUR’s Supervisory Board also met the 30 percent quota. But this is once again up in the air, now that a number of seats have fallen vacant.
Klasen recognises that a compulsory quota may have its drawbacks, but the student believes these are outweighed by the advantages. “In the old days, we always had an implicit bias – which we now propose replacing with an explicit one. At the very least this will be more transparent.” According to Klasen, a better mix of men and women would help break down implicit prejudices. “And this also applies to ethnic prejudice and other forms of bias. That should be the next step.”
The quota proposal is intended to complement EUR’s ‘25/25 initiative’: by 2025, the university aims for at least 25 percent of its professors to be women. Incidentally, the proposal still needs to be approved by the full University Council.