Influencing policy

The LNVH tries to exert influence when it comes to making and execution of policy pertaining to the position of women in the academic world. To do so, the board confers with the Dutch Organisation for Academic Research (NWO), the Royal Academy of Science (KNAW), the Union of Cooperating Universities (VSNU), and with the political and administrative leadership of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). 

From 2006 onwards, the LNVH has been in close yearly consultation with the presidents of NWO, KNAW, VSNU, and the minister for OCW. This usually happened by appointment, but also on an incidental basis, e.g. by attending activities or personal meetings organised by the ministry or the other institutions.  In 2006, after joint consultation with the parties involved, a lot of time and effort was spent in putting together a research proposal to acquire financial means for long-term activities. The efforts were rewarded on the 8th of November 2006, when OCW pledged to grant a subsidy.

These days, the policy advisors of OCW, NWO, KNAW, VSNU, and LNVH are in close consultation. Joint meetings, themed days with workshops, and planning sessions regarding the Charter ‘Talent to the Top’ are part of this. Each of these policy advisors has a direct line with the people they represent, and their boards.

Apart from the regular meetings with OCW, NWO, KNAW, VSNU, University Boards and the Board of Rectors, the LNVH also attends meetings with the deans and the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU). Together with the KNAW, the cooperation on networks of women is being further developed and expanded. The same goes for the collaboration with the VSNU, the De Beauvoir foundation (cooperation in the realisation of the Monitor Women Professors 2012), NWO (organisation of joint activities), OCW (Charter ‘Talent to the Top), and so on.

Meetings with University Boards (CvB’s)
The LNVH yearly meets with the Boards of all universities.

From the autumn of 2003 to early 2005, the LNVH board members held introductory meetings with the Boards of fourteen universities. The LNVH was also invited to attend a session of the Board of Rectors. In 2006 this was followed up by a new round of meetings. The goal of this was establish a dialogue between the Boards  and  LNVH, so that these universities could bring further measures ensuring equal representation of women into effect. This second round of meetings was concluded with a report during a session of the Board of Rectors. In September 2013 the meetings with the Boards of the universities will enter its fifth round. The starting point for these meetings is a close cooperation between universities and the LNVH. 

From the meetings, better strategies and subsequent points of action are being distilled and further developed. This results is ‘Best Practices’ (see pdf file ‘Best Practices voor universitair vrouwenbeleid’), that are useful for effective policy. Based on the internal reports of the meetings, the diversity policy of universities is being screened, and recommendations are made, so that universities who have committed to the Charter ‘Talent to the Top’ can formulate or hone their own policy. The document ‘Best Practices’ is accessible to affiliates on extranet under the heading ‘LNVH News’

Mediation for academic positions

With its database the LNVH can act as mediator in a variety of ways, through:

  • Setting up, maintaining, and evaluating a system for finding vacancies for professors; and actively approaching (through its affiliates) of women to bring these vacancies to their attention.

Hopefully this will give off a strong signal. During the CvB meetings, the potential of the LNVH website and database (e.g. sending selective e-mails to affiliates within the discipline of science, etc.) to fill vacancies is stressed. The LNVH also closely cooperates with Academic Transfer.

  • Contributing to career perspectives for affiliates, including board positions, by acting as liaison, especially for top positions in university boards, various committees, and boards of the NWO (for example), for which the LNVH can make recommendations.

Affiliates are contacted through news letters, but in between they can also be notified on a variety of current matters, or be sent requests. On a personal level, there is regular contact between the affiliates and the LNVH, for example when affiliates submit questions to the bureau.

Because of our Privacy statement, third parties do not have direct access to the database. They can, however, submit their requests to the LNVH bureau. The role of liaison is an ever expanding one.


Every year, the LNVH is invited to send in nominations for:

  • NWO-Spinozapremie;

  • Membership of De Jonge Akademie (KNAW);
  • Prijs Akademie Hoogleraren (KNAW);
  • Membership of the KNAW.

For all nominations, affiliates are asked to put suggest candidates. An advisory committee, consisting of two board members, as well as - amongst others - former laureates, evaluates the suggestions and decides who will be recommended.

Peer review and mentoring

The LNVH initiates peer review groups for professors and associate professors, and acts as intermediary for mentoring, and short term support for requesting grants.

Events for postdoc level and up

The LNVH organises regular events for female academics (post-doc level and up), with workshops, lectures, role models, speed dates with women professors, and lots of opportunities to network and cementing the underlying bond. Associate professors have been eligible to join since 2010.

Local networks

The LNVH works together closely with networks of women at universities, as part of  the promotion of women professors of the future.

Since 2010, the LNVH facilitates financial themed meetings on location. The local network of women submits a theme relevant to local female academics – also for non-members, within the framework of gender equality and promotion to higher positions. One can think of more or less universal themes, but also themes relating to personal development. Speakers can be invited, or workshops organised, and suchlike.
The local network can, therefore, cater to its own needs – in close consultation with the LNVH bureau, which can also offer organisational support. Info at:

Provided support:
In 2006, two requests for subsidy were made to Sofokles, the Social Fund for the knowledge sector. Both requests were awarded. One was a research project for local networks of female academics called ‘Netwerken voor vrouwen in hogere functies bij de Nederlandse universiteiten en UMC's: een pilotproject bij UU en UvA’. Its goal was to set up networks, and guiding and forming them in practical terms at the (pilot) universities UU and UvA, and its associated UMC’s. The ultimate goals was to let the local networks be instrumental in promoting equal representation of women in higher education. Under the supervision of a LNVH board member, Marion Kollau (tenured at the UU at the time) conducted this research

In 2007, an extension was requested for this ‘Networks’ project, and this was also granted. From this project a practical list of ‘Ten Commandments’ for the setting up of local networks was created. ‘Vrouwennetwerken op de universiteit’ was published in 2009, and can be found on this site.

In November 2009, a very successful national conference for women professors was organised in part by the women’s network of the Radboud Universiteit.


The LNVH expressly wishes to keep the subject of participation of women in the academic world at the fore. From the autumn of 2013, public profiles of all affiliates – professors and associate professors –who gave express permission , are published on the website. This ensures that the media have a quick and easy access to female academic experts.
The LNVH board frequently participates in relevant discussions and debates

Best Practices

The project Best Practices aims to: Build and expand an overview of "best practices" in the field of measures and policy, and to publish this, as well as signalling gaps in the arsenal of "best practices", and requesting and/or supervising further applied research in those subjects.


The year 2006 saw the start of the project ‘Op zoek naar Best Practices', again subsidised by SoFoKLeS. In this project existing policy measures, meant to promote the representation of women in higher positions, was collated and evaluated. The global goal of this research was to enable universities who wish to take action against the underrepresentation of women to opt for the best possible measures to do so, in their respective situations. This choice can be based on an overview of existing  measures and their measured effectiveness and acceptability. The research was supervised by an erstwhile LNVH board member, and the research was conducted at the Erasmus Universiteit by Tanya Timmers.


The research report "Op zoek naar ‘Best Practices", a research into the efficiency of equal representation policy at 14 universities for the period 2000-2007, was published in 2007, both on the SoFoKLeS website, and, of course on the LNVH website (under the header "Publications LNVH").


In 2009, the brochure Emancipatiebeleid voor universiteiten (Dutch only) was published. Copies can be obtained through:


The LNVH meetings with the University Boards also lead to an extension of the above mentioned best practice suggestions.