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Carel Stolker was presented with a 'Diamond' award for Leiden University's diversity policy.

Leiden University wins award for diversity policy

Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker was presented with a 'Diamond' on 8 June in recognition of Leiden University's role as a 'shining example' of male/female diversity. 'It's a question of determination,' says Stolker, 'and that gets results. For example, we are appointing an increasing number of female professors.'

Leiden University has signed the Talent to the Top Charter. Research shows that the participating organisations operate a better diversity policy and have more women in top jobs. When the managers of an organisation support gender diversity and the climate within the organisation is positive towards diversity, there's less need for HR rules. 

The watchful eyes of Athena’s Angels

‘The University is full of portraits of “dead men”, and although we love them dearly, they don't exactly help emancipation,' says Stolker. ‘Change can often be found in minor actions; in Leiden I made sure the photos of Athena's Angels were put on display in the Boardroom. I'm convinced that the Board now makes different decisions under the stern gaze of these four powerful female professors.' 

Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker and Caroline Princen, chair of the Monitoring Committee
Carel Stolker and Caroline Princen, chair of the Monitoring Committee

Presentation and award ceremony

Caroline Princen, chair of the Monitoring Committee, presented the report with the results of ten years of the Talent to the Top Charter to Khadija Arib, chair of the House of Representatives. Four organisations that set a particularly good example received a 'Diamond' award. Besides Leiden University, Rabobank, Vodafone and Alliander were  top performers. 

Gradual increase

The signatories to the Talent to the Top Charter are generally among the more successful Dutch organisations, and together they account for 10% of the Dutch employment market. With females making up 22% of the Board of Directors and 33.1% of the Board of Commissioners, the Charter organisations are performing much better than the national average, where the number of women in the Board of Directors is just 9.6%, and 12.5% in the Board of Commissioners.  The signatories are performing 1% better every year, which means that the target of 30% women in top positions will be achieved within eight years.

Diversity Office

Leiden University took the conscious decision to commit to emancipation and diversity, even before Carel Stolker became Rector Magnificus. Leiden's Diversity Office was set up in 2014 by the then Vice-Rector Simone Buitendijk and is currently managed by Isabel Hoving. Throughout the whole University there are staff whose work encompasses shaping diversity policy for students and staff. Diversity in the broadest sense of the word receives a lot of attention.  

Photos: Anna Reinke

Background to the Talent to the Top Charter

By signing the Talent to the Top charter, employers commit voluntarily to a sustainable and effective male/female policy on diversity. Since 2008 the charter has been signed by 261 organisations. The Monitoring Talent to the Top Committee oversees the annual progress, provides the signatories with an individual annual report, publishes the collective results and makes recommendations to the government, the Talent to the Top foundation amd the contractors to achieve the targets set in the charter. The Talent to the Top Charter is operated by D&I Company.