LNVH presents the 2022 Women Professors Monitor

7 Dec 2022

LNVH presents the 2022 Women Professors Monitor

PRESS RELEASE – 2022 WOMEN PROFESSORS MONITOR                                                       

8 December 2022

2022 WOMEN PROFESSORS MONITOR: Lowest growth percentage of women professors in past five year. Decrease in the share of women professors at a number of universities. Growth in the proportion of women in academic management. More extensive monitoring of the gender distribution among international staff. 

From milestone to alarm bell          
The percentage of women professors working at Dutch universities is 26.7%, according to the 2022 Women Professors Monitor, which was presented on 8 December by the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH). The proportion of women professors rose 1.0 percentage point in comparison with the previous year, when it was 25.7%. The 2021 Monitor celebrated the milestone of 1 in 4 professors being women. However, there are no milestones in the 2022 Monitor, only alarm bells. That is because the 1.0 percentage point growth in the percentage of women professors is the lowest in five years. It will take until 2041 before an equal gender distribution among professors is achieved. That is a year later than last year’s forecast.  

The higher up the academic career ladder, the fewer women
More than half of the graduates at Dutch universities are women (53.4%). This percentage is, however, slightly lower than that of last year. The percentage of female PhD students has grown minimally, by 0.1 percentage point, and is now 44.5%. The proportion of women assistant professors has risen by a mere 0.9 percentage point to 44.5%, the same as the proportion of female PhD students. On the other hand, the percentage of women professors has fallen by a striking 2.0 percentage points to 32.4%. The proportion of women full professors has declined again to 26.7%.

Decrease in the proportion of women professors at a number of universities  
Between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021 there was a decrease in the percentage of women full professors at three universities. Ten universities showed a slight growth, and at one university the proportion of women full professors remained the same. This year, there are no outliers with growth percentages above 3 percentage points as there were last year. At the end of 2021, three universities had passed the threshold of 30% women full professors: the Open University, Maastricht University and Leiden University. Last year there were four. Even though their proportion of women full professors declined, the Open University was in first place – as in previous years – with 40.4%, followed by Maastricht University with 35.1%. Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is once again in last place, with 17.7% women full professors. The proportion of women full professors declined there too. TU Delft remains the only university that has not yet passed the threshold of 20% women full professors.

Will universities meet their target figures?       
At the beginning of 2020, the LNVH requested the universities to set target figures for women full professors for the period 2020–2025. If the target figures are achieved, in 2025 no university will have a percentage of women full professors of less than 25%. Moreover, the average percentage of 31.2% will mean that, for the first time, one in three full professors will be women. The reality is, however, that it will be hard to achieve those future milestones. The forecast for 2025, based on the growth from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, is that nine of the fourteen universities will not reach their target figure at that rate of growth, in comparison with six last year.

Extra impulse needed
The target figure forecast for 2025 based on the growth from the end of 2016 to the end of 2021, which takes account of the effect of the Westerdijk Talent Impulse in 2017, looks a little more favourable. Ten of the fourteen universities will then reach their targets. The 2021 Monitor gave a figure of eleven, so here too the picture is less rosy. The LNVH advocates putting the focus once again on the advancement of women and urges consideration of extra impulse programmes, sector-wide or for each individual university. At the same time, attention must continue to be paid to appointing women in the regular appointment procedures if such impulses are to be translated into sustained growth.

Women academics more likely to have a temporary contract     
In all job categories, more women academics have a temporary contract than their male colleagues. At 4.4%, the difference is greatest among assistant professors: 32.8% of women assistant professors have a temporary contract, as opposed to 28.4% of men assistant professors.

Women academics are no ‘part-time princesses’, and are systematically classified in lower salary scales    
On average, women academics have a slightly smaller contract size than their male colleagues, except for women full professors, who at 0.88 FTE have on average a larger contract size than men at 0.85 FTE. In terms of salary, women are on average systematically classified in lower salary scales than their male colleagues. The difference in salary scale classification between women and men full professors has increased in comparison with the previous Monitor. The differences were unchanged for other job categories. 

Total share of international academics is increasing. Proportion greatest among women
A new edition to the Monitor is the section about the composition of academic staff with respect to origin. This allows us to give details of the gender distribution amongst academic staff with an international background. Relevant information is provided that can help to focus policy in the domain of gender equality.

In each successive job category the proportion of academics of Dutch origin increases. Among PhD students the proportion of academics of international origin is 54.1% and among full professors 22.5%. In all job categories there is a larger proportion of women than men of international origin. The difference between women and men is greatest among full professors: 29.5% of the women full professors are of international origin, as opposed to 20% of the men. Surprising, given that the difference between female and male PhD students is minimal: 54.2% of the female PhD students and 54% of the male PhD students. However, in each successive job category the proportion with an international background decreases, among both women and men.

A large pool of replacement potential
In the years ahead a lot of men will be taking retirement, so there is scope for appointing women to those positions. More than 90% of the departing full professors can be replaced by women associate professors. The huge increase in the number of women associate professors means that the replacement potential has increased in the course of one year by as much as 13 percentage points, from 80.9% to 93.9%.

Women academics at the UMCs      
The percentage of women full professors at the university medical centres increased from 28.0% in 2021 to 29.7% in 2022. This reflects an increase of 1.7 percentage points, as opposed to 1.6 percentage points last year. Six of the eight university medical centres experienced an increase in the percentage of women full professors. Only at Radboudumc and the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) did this percentage decrease: from 30.9% to 29.8% and from 29.2% to 28.8% respectively. Three UMCs have now passed the 30% threshold: the VUmc, the UMCG and the UMCU. In last place, just as the previous year, is the ErasmusMC with 24.2% women full professors.  

Academic management            
The percentage of women on the Executive Boards of the universities increased from 40% to 42.5%. There is only one university without a single female board member. The percentage of women on the Supervisory Boards of the universities fell slightly to 47.8%, but proportionality remains in sight. At the UMCs the proportion of women among the Executive Board members increased substantially: now 40% of them are women. Proportionality was reached this year on the UMC Supervisory Boards: exactly 50% are women. Three of the seven Supervisory Boards have more female members than male.

The percentage of female deans at Dutch universities has increased significantly. The proportion rose by 9.6 percentage points to 29.7%. At present, almost one in three deans is a woman. The proportion of women among the directors of educational institutes rose considerably as well, from 43% to 53.5%. Among the directors of the research institutes, one in four is a woman. Women continue to be better represented in education than they are in research and integrated management. Considering the reputation, authority and actual influence of these roles, women are more strongly represented in the roles with less influence.

In conclusion
The 2022 Women Professors Monitor is once again more comprehensive than previous editions. The LVNH is delighted that this year we have been able to expand our data collection and presentation with data relating to national and international origin and gender.

We express our concerns about the developments shown in this Monitor and we ask the sector to renew the focus on the retention of female academic talent. The LNVH would like to underline the fact that gender equality cannot be achieved without creating a safe and inclusive academic working environment. The LNVH therefore calls on the sector to study the content of the Monitor and then to open discussions about the current situation, about what can be improved, about what everyone’s role, be it small or big, could be in terms of creating equal opportunities, equal representation and a safe and inclusive academic culture in which equal pay is the norm.

Pieter Duisenberg, president of Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) says in response:

"I am pleased to see that there is an increase in the share of women professors again. Unfortunately this increase is not as significant as we would like it to be. Together, we must make sure that we reach the targets set for 2025. We can certainly achieve that."

  • Download the 2022 Women Professors Monitor here.

About the Dutch Network of Women Professors
The Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) is a knowlegde center and networking and lobby organisation, and a network of over 1500 affiliated women associate professors and full professors. The LNVH is dedicated to achieving equal representation of women in academia, improving the position of women academics of all backgrounds and disciplines, and creating an inclusive and safe academic culture in which equal pay is the norm.

Note for editors:

For more information and/or an interview request, please contact Lidwien Poorthuis, Dutch Network of Women Professors, +31 (0)6-15207225 – poorthuis@lnvh.nl