Today, the Langeveld Building was opened on the Woudestein campus. This highly sustainable building is named after Henny Langeveld (1926-2004), Professor of Emancipation Issues and also the first female professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). Who was she and what is her legacy?
Hendrika Maria Langeveld was associated with our university for two periods: from 1962 to 1973 as lecturer and professor at the Netherlands School of Economics, predecessor of the EUR. From 1986 until her retirement in 1991, she held the chair in Emancipation Issues.
In 1969, she was appointed professor at the chair of Empirical Sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, now the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Langeveld entered the books as the first female professor at our university. She said in an interview that this was not widely acknowledged at the time. And she considered the fact that she was the first woman to become a professor in a male stronghold a less important issue than the manner in which: before becoming a professor, she was first appointed as a lecturer, while most men at the time directly became professors.
This period also saw the publication of Langeveld's perhaps most important work: Vrouw-Beroep-Maatschappij (1969). In it, she evaluates the positions of women in the Dutch labour system of those days. At the time, this book was the standard work in the field of social-scientific analysis of women's emancipation.
Societal impact through scientific research
In 1973, she made the move to The Hague and became an executive member of the Scientific Council for Government Policy. This was not a surprising move: Langeveld was known for actively seeking a connection with policy through her research. She excelled at this: she made important contributions to policy-making within various social issues. Her attitude fits perfectly with our university's tradition, which we now also make explicit under the heading 'making positive societal impact'.
Her research on topics such as the culture of the welfare state, developments around marriage and family and women's emancipation have been influential and we are still benefitting from it. By having a building on our campus bearing her name, we are permanently reminded of her pioneering research.