Extra funding for more women

Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker will free up five million euros to promote 100 female university instructors to professor in 2017. The funding will come from the budget of the Ministry of Education.
By Leonie Sinnema / Translation by Alain Reniers

The funding will enable Dutch universities to finance the new positions for the next five years. After that, the costs for the positions will be paid by the universities themselves. The measure is in addition to the agreement Dutch universities entered into to appoint 200 new female professors by no later than 2020.

By the end of 2016, 18 percent of Dutch professors was female. The Female Professors Monitor 2016 shows that this percentage is increasing slowly. If the percentage of women continues to increase at the same rate, then an equal male-female ratio will not be reached until 2054. This is much too slow, Bussemaker feels. ‘We are lagging behind massively, also at an international level. So we really need to shift up a gear or two.’

‘Pretty well’

‘We’re doing pretty well in general compared to other universities,’ RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens says. ‘We have our own policy to draw in more female professors, including the Rosalind Franklin Fellowship.’

The percentage of female professors at the RUG was 19.4 per cent by the end of 2015. The 2015 goal of having 25 percent female professors was not achieved. ‘In practice, the situation is more unmanageable,’ Deekens says. ‘There are multiple reasons as to why this target number was not met. The fact is that many women would rather work part-time, whereas a professorship is a full-time position.’


Deekens was unable to say whether or not additional funding from the ministry will help the RUG meet that goal. Nevertheless, the university is happy with the minister’s initiative. ‘We can only applaud it,’ Deekens says.

Bussemaker’s measure will take effect immediately. Universities will only receive funding if they create additional positions, which boils down to one female professor per faculty. The measure marks the start of the Johanna Westerdijk year. In 1917, Westerdijk was appointed as the first female Dutch professor.



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