Four female professors appointed during Westerdijk Year

Today, on International Women’s Day, Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (Education, Culture and Science) announced that the Dutch universities have succeeded in appointing 100 new female professors in the context of NWO’s ‘Westerdijk Talent Impulse’. Erasmus University Rotterdam has appointed a total of four female professors.

In 2017, it was exactly 100 years since the first Dutch woman, Johanna Westerdijk, was appointed professor. In the context of this festive centenary, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science made 5 million euro in extra funding available for the appointment of 100 female professors. Universities interested in making use of this Westerdijk Talent Scheme submitted their applications to NWO.

EUR has appointed the following professors:

Proud, but ther's a lot of work to be done

Rector magnificus prof.dr. Huibert Pols: “I am very proud of these four new female professors. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. In the period ahead, Erasmus University will be taking additional measures to ensure that we achieve our target for 2020, in which at least 20% of our regular professors will be women. We need to effect a culture change. We have agreed with the University Council to identify the obstacles on our path.”

Among other things, the university will be scrutinising its appointment policy and developing a ‘tool kit’ for our selection and recruitment procedures, which includes a training that raises awareness of implicit bias in the appointment process.


The objective of this ‘Westerdijk Talent Impulse’ is to increase the number of female professors – and contribute to greater diversity within the highest academic echelons as a result. Funding approval was subject to a number of conditions, including the stipulation that the professor in question should have a prospect of securing a permanent contract.

The idea for the ‘Westerdijk Talent Impulse’ was hatched by Athena’s Angels, four female professors who work to promote women’s interests within the scientific sector.

More information

Press Office, T (010) 408 1216, E