In recent times, the advance of women in science has gathered some momentum. The percentage of female professors in 2018 even rose by more than two percentage points. That was unprecedented. Nowadays, almost one in four professors is a woman.
Although things were moving at a more gradual pace last year, as can be seen from the new staffing figures for the universities. In 2019, there were proportionally 1.1% more female professors than in 2018: 24.3% to be precise.
At a growth rate of 1.1% per annum, it will still take 23 years to achieve a balanced representation between men and women. Former Dutch Labour Party minister Jet Bussemaker had set up a subsidy for the appointment of more female professors back in 2017, which was apparently very helpful. Progress would have been significantly slower without that stimulus.

Decline at the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University

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Women on top

In 2020, 20 percent of all full professors at every faculty of the EUR should be female.…

At the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, the percentage of female professors even fell slightly, although Leiden in particular is still high in the list of universities where many women hold a chair. The four universities of technology still have the fewest number of female professors.

When it comes to appointments below professorships, things are not going any faster at the moment either. Of all the university’s senior lecturers, less than 30% are women: An increase of (also) 1.1 percentage points compared to the previous year. Among university lecturers, the proportion of women rose by one tenth to 42.6%.

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Infographic on the growth of the number of female professors

EUR determined to reach 25% or more

The EUR did actually show an increase last year, quite a substantial one in fact. Within a year, the proportion of female professors rose by 6.2% to 21%. In a reaction, the university issued the following statement declaring that it intends to keep working on this in the years to come.
“The social impact of EUR is enriched by our large number of talented female scientists and EUR is steadfast in promoting their contributions. In addition, we have a concrete target that by 2025 the percentage of female professors at EUR will be 25% or more. We are delivering on these goals through our comprehensive 25/25 policy measure that supports female academics in the next step in their professional career. This has run successfully throughout 2020 despite the challenging circumstances. In addition, our Academic Leadership Training for academic staff continues to include diversity and inclusion in its modules.
More widely, diversifying our organisation is a key priority for EUR and we are focused in ensuring it in every manner, whether in recruitment, employee retention or beyond. Examples include, training our administrators, academic staff and professional services employees to become more aware of implicit biases; as well as working with external partners, to share and develop best practices in developing inclusive employment and culture.”