Extra chairs for women, but Rosalind Franklin programme is ending

With twenty-two new Aletta Jacobs chairs, the UG aims to meet its target of 33 percent female professors by 2026. But the Rosalind Franklin programme is suspended indefinitely.

The Rosalind Franklin programme, in which female talent entered a tenure track, was the UG’s flagship programme for years. However, it did not bring about enough change, the university’s board of directors acknowledges.

‘It’s not that the programme wasn’t succesful’, said Hans Biemans on Wednesday in the university council. ‘But not all employees stay.’


Sometimes, people leave because they don’t fit in with the group that hired them. Some leave to take the next step in their career.

As a result, the UG now ranks ninth in terms of the number of female professors. Only Erasmus University in Rotterdam and universities of technology are doing worse.

The problem lies mainly in the advancement of associate professors to full professorships. There is already a surplus of male associate professors. The university also appoints more men from outside the institute to professorial positions than they do women.

Relatively low

Even at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, where 41 percent of professors are female, the number of professors is relatively low. The number of women in associate professor positions is much higher: 64.7 percent.

While the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) has shown a strong increase since 2018 and now sits at over 20 percent, the number of female associate professors has fallen from 34.3 to 30.6 percent.


If the UG does not change its policy, the percentage of female professors will remain at 29.2 percent in 2025. The new Aletta Jacobs chairs – for which the UG will provide 20,000 euros per chair for five years – should prevent this. Here, women at associate professor level are immediately appointed as professors.

This can be done by promoting them outside a tenure track or by promoting women in a tenure track more quickly, for instance by taking life events or committee work into account more. External recruitment is also an option.


Each faculty may appoint one new Aletta Jacobs professor. The others are distributed among faculties according to size and space to fill the position. Faculties may still use the Rosalind Franklin programme, but the board of directors will no longer pay for it.

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