Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University to participate in Cultural Talent to the Top monitor

This year, Leiden University will participate for the first time in the Cultural Talent to the Top monitor. This will provide insight into the University’s diversity policy with regard to staff from a non-western background. The ultimate aim is to promote ethnic and cultural diversity in certain roles.

Leiden University will be the first Dutch university to take part in the monitor. At present, cultural diversity at many Dutch companies and organisations is fairly limited, particularly in higher roles. Only a very small number of professors and administrators at Leiden University have a migration background, for example. There can be various conscious or subconscious reasons for this: staff from a non-western migration background may not be deemed to have leadership potential or selection panels may favour candidates who are like themselves.

Examine policy

Change begins with awareness, and awareness begins with discovering how exactly your organisation is faring. The Cultural Talent to the Top monitor will begin by examining Leiden University’s diversity policy. Is the Executive Board committed to the goal of increasing cultural diversity within the organisation? Is account taken of ethnic and cultural diversity when recruiting new staff? These are just some of the questions that will be asked.

Inventory of people’s backgrounds

The second phase will involve gaining an accurate picture of cultural diversity at the University. In other words: what percentage of staff are from a non-western migration background, and how this is distributed across certain jobs. To begin with, this will involve looking at administrators and professors. This inventory will be anonymised, so individuals cannot be identified from the figures.

‘Reference point for our diversity policy’

‘These figures will provide a reference point for our diversity policy,’ says Aya Ezawa, the Diversity Officer at Leiden University. ‘They are essential to raising awareness within the organisation, so we can see how far we are and how far we still have to go. It is obvious that we have less cultural diversity at each rung of the career ladder, that we are not a good reflection of society and that there is a lack of role models for students. But to what extent remains guesswork without any figures.’

Monitoring gender equality

Leiden University has been participating in the ‘regular’ Talent to the Top monitor for some time already, which looks at the number of women in higher roles. This has helped place gender equality on the agenda, and one result is an increase in the number of female professors at Leiden University over the past few years.

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