Universiteit Leiden

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Faculty of Science

Diversity and Inclusion

The Faculty of Science adopted an action plan Diversity and Inclusiveness in 2015. In this action plan, the Faculty commits to a number of actions to further improve diversity and inclusion for staff and students, such as more female full professors at the faculty, and encourages initiatives that foster inclusion.

About diversity and inclusion

Diversity is the measure to which different groups of people that exist in society are also found within the organization. It is partly measured by the numbers of staff and students from different backgrounds present at the Faculty of Science. Inclusion is the culture that comes with diversity: it is the extent to which the organizational culture is welcoming people from different (minority) groups. Inclusion is much more qualitative in measure. Studies show that a diverse and inclusive working and studying environment fosters talent and creates a more innovative environment. Under ‘Downloads’ you can find an analysis of the inclusion of our Faculty of Science, carried out in 2015.

What can I do?

Diversity and inclusion needs to come up from the community of students and staff of the Faculty. The Faculty supports initiatives that help creating a more diverse environment. If you have an idea, question or suggestion, please reach out to the diversity working group of the Faculty of Science via diversity@science.leidenuniv.nl. Please find more information about the Diversity and inclusion policy of the University of Leiden.

Gender aspects of research

The Gendered Innovations project[1], an initiative of the EU, Stanford University and the American National Science Foundation, makes a convincing case for taking diversity (including gender diversity) into account in research. An example of an area where this is important is in drug research, where failing to use male and female cell lines can result in faulty, one-sided results, leading to the development of medicines suitable for only one of the sexes. Also, failing to take the differences between women, particularly pregnant women, and men into account in crash tests, could lead to greater injury in car accidents.

A quick scan of how gender is taken into account in the research taking place at the Faculty of Science has resulted in this list. This list should be considered as an ongoing inventory; when scientists at the Faculty start new research where this issue plays a relevant role, their research will be added to the list.

Women’s network

A Leiden Science Women’s network is established by Prof. Dr. Miranda van Eck and Dr. Martina Vijver. The network focusses on increasing the visibility of female staff and aims to assist in coaching and professional development. The network has its own website www.rise.nu and for questions or suggestions you can reach the network at rise@science.leidenuniv.nl.

Other best practices

A number of initiatives at the Faculty of Science promote diversity and inclusion:

  • Girlz@LIACS: this program aims at improving the position and well-being of women at the computer science department. At the LIACS female students don’t want to be set aside as a group, but contact with other women and better visibility of female professionals are appreciated. Informal contact is initiated by a meet-and-greet moment for new students. Currently a survey is held to trigger awareness among female students, so activities can be developed to match their needs.
  • Phème: this association is related to the almost century old student association for Science students in Leiden, ‘De Leidsche Flesch’ (‘the Leiden Jar’). Phème unites the female members of De Leidsche Flesch, and sets up activities tailored to them, such as high teas, cocktail nights and other social occasions where ladies in Science can meet like-minded women.
  • Ladies Physics Day: this is an open house day especially for female high school students. The program aims to show female prospective students the bachelor program in physics, currently an academic area that is predominantly male. Video impression
  • Women Career Event: the ‘Chemisch Dispuut Leiden’, an association for Chemistry Students at the Faculty, hosted a women career event last year. Several female chemists from different companies joined the CDL for an evening and presented an impression of their jobs to the female members of the CDL
  • Talent to the top: in 2009, the Leiden University signed the charter ‘Talent to the top’ (Talent naar de top). Since 2009, the Faculty of Science has been working on improving the gender balance in scientific top positions. An annual evaluation provides the figures that serve as measure for success.


From the keynote speech of Prof. Dr. Brage, Lund University.

  • Strid and Husu (ed), GEXcel Work in Progress Report XVII, LiU-tryck 2013.
  • Rosser, Breaking into the Lab, New York University Press 2012
  • Rosser, Teaching the Majority, Teacher’ college press 1995
  • Schiebinger (ed), Gendered Innovations in Science and Engieering, Stanford University Press 2008
  • Schiebinger et al: https://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu/
  • Hasse and Trentemöller, Break the Pattern!, UPGEM-project report, Tartu University Press 2008)
  • Brage, Widén and Berg: See the Human Beyond – a method for discrimination prevention, to be published.
  • Rosenberg: Report from the project group of the Gender Certification Project, Dnr 2007/428-0, to be translated
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