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Improving the gender imbalance in mathematics

"Math for all", the third annual meeting of the Dutch section of European Women in Mathematics EWM-NL, which took place on November 30th, was dedicated to the gender imbalance at Dutch mathematics departments. Stéphanie van der Pas, president of EWM-NL, and Sanne Willems from the Leiden Mathematical Institute were co-organizers.

Frank den Hollander (Leiden) discussed the current numbers of female mathematicians, and the solutions proposed in the Deltaplan. The research on implicit biases was reviewed by Naomi Ellemers (Utrecht), and the EWM-NL mentor network was promoted by Lisanne Rens (CWI). Corina Brussaard (UvA/NIOZ) offered her personal view and advice on gender equality. The final speaker was Tomas Brage (Lund), who shared his perspective on gender balance and suggested many practical options for improvement.

Some measures that were discussed:

  • adding 'bias observers' to discussions of job search committees and research grant committees;
  • advertising all job openings publicly;
  • systematic gender training for persons in leadership positions;
  • organizing events for women only, for example on the day before a conference or workshop;
  • creating a prize for departments that take initiatives towards improving the gender balance;
  • checking teaching materials for sexist portrayals of men and women;
  • guaranteeing that the amount of time taken for parental leave is added to every temporary contract;
  • getting rid of the short time frames during which researchers can apply for a Veni, as these deadlines put a lot of pressure on young researchers to perform at a time when they also typically want to start a family.



To learn more about EWM-NL, to participate in EWM-NL's mentornetwork, or to register for the EWM-NL newsletter, visit www.ewmnetherlands.nl.

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