NEWS

Science 19 November 2020

Rise of female professors stops

It may take until the year 2043 until there are as many female as male professors. The rapid increase in the number of female professors hired appears to have slowed down again.

The growth of women in science recently appeared to be gaining momentum, as the percentage of female professors went up by more than two percentage points in 2018, an unprecedented increase. Almost one in four professors is now female.

However, this growth appeared to slow down last year, as shown in new staff figures provided by the universities. In 2019, there were 1.1 percentage points more female professors than in 2018: 24.3 percent to be exact.

© HOP. Source: WOPI figures, Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). Reference date: 31 December 2019.

At a growth rate of 1.1 percentage points per year, it will take 23 years before an even distribution between men and women in academia is achieved. Former Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker (PvdA) created a subsidy scheme in 2017, aimed at encouraging the hiring of more female professors. The scheme appeared to be working quite well. Without the financial stimulus, however, the appointment of female scientists is clearly slowing down.

At the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, the percentage of female professors has even declined slightly, although Leiden is still near the top of the list. The four universities of technology employ the fewest female professors.

© HOP. Source: WOPI figures, Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). Reference date: 31 December 2019.

On the lower rungs of the career ladder, the number of women is currently not rising any faster. Less than 30 percent of all associate professors are female: an increase of (again) 1.1 percentage points compared to the previous year. Among university lecturers the share of women was up by one-tenth to 42.6 percent.

© HOP. Source: WOPI figures, Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). Reference date: 31 December 2019.

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