Universiteit Leiden

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Percentage of women professors: Leiden in third place

Leiden University is in third place in the Netherlands for the percentage of women professors, behind the Open University and Radboud University in Nijmegen. This is reported in the Review of Women Professors 2018.

The percentage of women professors nationally first reached 20% in the Netherlands in 2017. * In fact, out of the total of 3,225 professors in the Netherlands, 651 were women. In Leiden, that percentage was 27.2.  Minister for Education Van Engelshoven expressed her satisfaction with this national increase. 'I am very happy that we are making good progress. However, that number could be even greater.' The Westerdijk Talent Incentive in 2017 (an idea put forward by Athena's Angels) has certainly contributed to the national increase to 21.9%: the universities were able to share 100 awards intended to appoint 100 women professors. Leiden University won ten awards and added a further 15 of its own.  

* This excludes the field of Medicine: the percentage of female professors at the University Medical Centres was 23.6. 

Target already met

The Open University was the first academic institution to break through the 30% barrier for women professors; this small university has just 44 professors. At the University of Amsterdam there has been a slight drop in the share of females in professorial posts. TU Eindhoven and Erasmus University in Rotterdam are at the bottom of the list. Eindhoven University changed places with Erasmus; with 12.6 % women professors, TUE has the lowest percentage for the Netherlands.

In 2015 all universities set target figures for themselves. At the end of 2017 Leiden University, the University of Maastricht and Radboud University Nijmegen  had already reached their target. Four of the fourteen universities will miss their targets unless they start a catch-up campaign; the other universities are on track.  

Reducing number of female PhD candidates

One worrying development is that the number of female PhD candidates has shown a slight drop in 2017 to 42.7%, according to the LNVH (the Dutch Network of Women Professors). This phenomenon can also be seen in Leiden, on a very small scale but not in 2017.  As at the start of December 2018 Leiden University had 447 PhD defences spread over the year: 217 candidates were women and 230 were men. In 2017 the women were in the majority: of the 423 PhD candidates, 213 were women and 210 were men.  Van Engelshoven is also concerned about this national trend: 'If we want more diversity at the top, we have to ensure that the mix of potential candidates remains diverse.' 

Interesting facts

The review, produced by the LNVH provides some interesting information. 

  • If the present growth continues, by 2048 the balance between men and women professors will be even. 
  • Women teach more, while men do more research. 
  • Women professors have more working hours than their male equivalents: they work 1.4 hours per week longer.  
  • In 2016 women in academia earned € 53 gross per month less than men, corrected for age, job category and level. Almost 40% of the male professors were in the highest salary scales 17 and 18, as opposed to slightly above a quarter of the women professors: 25.5%;
  • Academics spend on average 6% more of their time on organisational activities than stated in their contract, which amounts to almost three working weeks in a year for a full-time appointment. No male/female differences were noted. 
  • Fourteen of the 41 positions in the Executive Boards of universities were held by women, and in the Supervisory Boards, 26 of the 69 positions were held by women. 

Review of women professors 2018 (in Dutch) 
of the National Network of Women Professors

Text: Corine Hendriks
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