In the previous Monitor, we reflected on the fact that the percentage of women professors passed the 25% mark for the first time in the history of Dutch academia. The percentage of women associate professors also passed the 30% threshold for the first time. We celebrated these milestones.
In this Monitor, the icon of the milestone has been replaced by that of an alarm bell . Although there is certainly progress to be reported – for example, the proportion of women associate professors increased significantly and there has been an increase in the proportion of women in academic management – we have noticed a stagnation - and even decrease - in the growth of the proportion of women in a number of places. We notice that there is a tendency to say that attention for the advancement of women in academia can be abandoned because we have achieved certain milestones. The numbers in this monitor paint a different picture.
At the end of 2021, the average percentage of women professors at universities in the Netherlands is 26.7%. This is an increase of 1.0 percentage points compared to the end of 2020, when the average percentage was 25.7. This growth rate is the lowest in the past 5 years. This is a development to keep an eye on and therefore marked with an alarm bell . Curious about the other alarm bells? You can find them highlighted in the Monitor.
Striking this year is the relatively strong growth in the share of women associate professors. That increased from 30.4% to 32.4%: a growth of 2.0 percentage points, and a substantial addition to the so-called ‘pipeline’. Therefore, theoretically, there is enough growth to compensate for the decline in growth in the proportion of women professors in the near future.
The proportion of women is decreasing significantly at every step of the career ladder. Among students, the share of women (51.4%) is slightly higher than the share of men. The proportion of women among the graduates decreases slightly compared to the previous Monitor, but is still larger than the share of male graduates at 53.4%. All the more striking is the drop in the proportion of women in the PhD job category to 44.5%. For each successive job category, the percentage of women decreases from 44.5% assistant professors to 32.4% women associate professors and 26.7% women professors.
Between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021, the percentage of women professors increased at 10 universities, at 1 university it remained the same and at 3 universities the share of women professors decreased. The increase varies from 0.2 percentage points at Eindhoven University of Technology to 2.6 percentage points at the University of Amsterdam. There are no outliers this year with growth rates above 3 percentage points, as was the case last year. There are now 3 universities that have passed the 30% women professor threshold: the Open University, Maastricht University and Leiden University. Last year this number was 4. The Open University is the only university that has passed the 40% threshold. Delft University of Technology closes the ranks with 17.7% women professors, and is the only university that has not yet reached the threshold of 20% women professors.
At the beginning of 2020, the LNVH requested the universities to set target figures for women professors for the period 2020–2025. All 14 universities responded to this request and set new goals. If all of the set targets are achieved, no university will have a percentage of women professors less than 25% by 2025. Moreover, the average percentage of 31.2% will mean that, for the first time, one in three full professors will be women. With these new targets, we should have passed the point of a critical mass by 2025. The forecasts in the Monitor show that many universities will have to step up their efforts to achieve the set targets. Which universities? Check the 2022 Monitor.
If the percentages of women professors continue to increase at the same rate of growth, we will achieve a proportional gender distribution among the professors by the end of 2041. Last year, this forecast was still at 2040. Extra attention and action are needed here!
This is just a small selection of the data published in this Monitor. We invite you to read the Monitor for more data on the Glass Ceiling Index, male-female differences in age, contract size and permanent vs. temporary contracts, information on m/f distribution amongst salary scales, scientific fields, academic management, UMCs and much more.
New in this Monitor is the paragraph on the composition of the scientific staff with regard to ‘Origin’ (UNL WOPI data category ‘Herkomst’). This data allows us to provide insight into the gender distribution amongst scientific staff with an international background, and provides relevant information, for example for the creation and implementation of gender equality policies.
Also new in this Monitor are data relating to the UNL WOPI variable 'Gender', and specifically the value 'Other'. Although LNVH strongly advises to rename this value, it does provide an opening to the abandonment of the current binary data registration and representation. You can read more on this topic in the 2022 Monitor.
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Please note: the printed versions of the Monitor are in Dutch. A full English version of the 2022 Monitor will be digitally available soon.
The Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) is a center of expertise in gender diversity and a lobby and network organization of over 1500 women associate and full professors. LNVH aims to promote equal representation of women in academia, works towards the betterment of the position of women of all backgrounds and pushes for an inclusive and safe academic community. To this extent, the LNVH publishes a yearly Women Professors Monitor. The Monitor offers insight into the current ratio of men to women in academia and an overview of the current percentages of male and female professors and in management positions at Dutch academic organizations, university medical centers and other academic organizations. The Monitor forms the foundation for policy measures on gender diversity. It incites action and gives insight into where the obstacles are in the still inadequate flow of women to the higher echelons of academia.