In the previous Monitor, we replaced the milestone icon with that of an alarm bell . We did this, among other things, to draw attention to the alarming decline in the growth of the percentage of women professors. With only 1.0 percentage point, we observed the lowest growth in the past 5 years.

In this Monitor, there is no better news on that front: once again, we see a decrease in the growth of the share of women professors. With a growth of 0.9 percentage points in this Monitor, we do not surpass last year's record low. The sector must and can do better. Therefore, the Dutch Network of Women Professors advocates for a new boost, similar to the Westerdijk Talent Impulse. More about the plans in this Monitor.

Fortunately, in this Monitor - that is more comprehensive than ever - progress can certainly be reported. The proportion of women associate professors has increased significantly for the second consecutive year, and the proportion of women assistant professors is now larger than the proportion of women PhD candidates for the first time. A remarkable development . Despite the often heard remark ‘Why should we still be concerned about gender balance? We are there right?'. The numbers tell a different story. We invite you to read this Monitor for more insights.


By the end of 2022, the average percentage of women professors at universities in the Netherlands is 27.6%. This is an increase of 0.9 percentage points compared to the end of 2021 when the average percentage was 26.7. This growth rate is the lowest in the past 8 years. This is a worrying trend that we must keep an eye on and is therefore once again marked with an alarm bell. Curious about the other alarm bells? You can find them highlighted in the Monitor.

It is noteworthy that for the second consecutive year, the proportion of women in the job category of associate professors shows strong growth. With a growth of 1.4 percentage points by the end of 2022, the growth is not as strong as at the end of 2021 when it was 2.0 percentage points. This Monitor clearly shows that the decline in the proportion of women associate professors, when the appointment of 100 women professors as part of the Westerdijk Talent Impulse thinned out the 'pool' of women associate professors, has been reversed.

The attentive reader will notice that the growth percentage in the text deviates from that in the accompanying figure. That is correct. We base the growth of the percentage of women professors on the difference between the rounded percentage of women professors for that year and the rounded percentage of women professors for the previous year. For the 2023 monitor, that is 27.6% (end of 2022) and 26.7% (end of 2021), resulting in a difference of 0.9 percentage points. If we consider the unrounded percentages for these two years, we arrive at (rounded up) 1.0 percentage point. In the figures and tables in the monitor, we always display the growth based on the unrounded percentages.*


The proportion of female students increased slightly to 51.5% by the end of 2022. The proportion of female students is still greater than the proportion of male students. The same applies to the proportion of female graduates, which also increased slightly to 54.4%. The proportion of female PhD candidates also increased from 44.5% to 45.1%. This year, it is noteworthy that for the first time, the proportion of women assistant professors is 45.9%, 0.8 percentage points larger than the proportion of women PhD candidates. However, we still see a strong decline in the percentage of women in each successive job category after the position of assistant professor, from 45.9% women assistant professors to 33.8% women associate professors and 27.6% women professors.


At 12 out of 14 universities, there is growth in the percentage of women professors between the end of 2021 and the end of 2022. This growth varies from 0.4 percentage points at Delft University of Technology and the Open University to 3.4 percentage points at Wageningen University. The University of Leiden has maintained the same percentage of women professors. The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has experienced a decrease of 0.1 percentage point in the percentage of women professors compared to the end of 2021. In addition to the growth of 3.4 percentage points at Wageningen University, the above-average growth of 2.4 percentage points at Tilburg University and 2.1 percentage points at Radboud University Nijmegen is also notable.

Last year, three universities had crossed the threshold of 30% women professors, and this year there are five: the Open University, Maastricht University, Leiden University, Radboud University Nijmegen, and Utrecht University.

Once again, the Open University leads the ranking this year with a percentage of women professors of 40.9% by the end of 2022. Maastricht University follows with an increase in the percentage of women professors from 35.1% to 36.0%. Finally, TU Delft remains at the bottom with a below-average increase of 0.4 percentage points, from 17.7% to 18.1%.


In early 2020, the Dutch Network of Women Professors requested universities to set target figures for women professors for the period 2020-2025. All 14 universities have complied with the request and set new goals. If the target figures are achieved, by 2025, no university will have a percentage of women professors below 25%. Moreover, with an average of 31.2%, for the first time, 1 in 3 professors will be a woman. With these new target figures, we should have surpassed the critical mass point (30%) by 2025. The good news is that 3 out of 14 universities have already achieved their target figures. However, the forecasts in the Monitor show that many universities will have to step up their efforts to achieve their set targets: a total of 6 out of 14 universities are not on track to reach their goals at this pace.


If the percentages of women professors continue to rise at the same pace, we will achieve an equal gender distribution among professors by the end of 2041. If we base the forecast on the growth of the past two years, we see that a 50/50 distribution among professors will not be achieved until 2045.


A notable aspect in this Monitor is the increased outflow of men in the age category 60+. It appears that the (long) anticipated relatively massive exit of this group has begun. This, coupled with the saturation of the talent pool, offers extraordinary prospects for the future. Of course, it is crucial for institutions to act upon this and ensure that the work culture focuses on attracting and retaining female talent.

Without making a distinction based on scientific fields, almost 100% (=97.4%) of the expected outflow of professors can be replaced by women associate professors. This means that the replacement potential has increased by 3.5 percentage points in one year.

This is a just 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.

Finally, we specifically draw attention to the section on the composition of the academic staff regarding origin. For the second consecutive year, we can provide insight into the gender distribution among academic staff with an international background. This yields relevant information, for example, for tailoring policies in the field of gender equality.

Once again in this Monitor, there is data related to the UNL WOPI variable 'Gender', specifically the value 'Other'. Although this label leaves much to be desired - the Dutch Network of Women Professors advocates for a renaming - it does open the door to moving away from conventional binary data registration and representation. More on this in the Monitor itself.

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LNVH also publishes a full English version of the Monitor. This version is currently being developed and will be available by early 2024 at the latest.

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About the LNVH

The Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) is a center of expertise in gender diversity and a lobby and network organization of over 1600 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 academics 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.

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