EUR nominated for 010 Inclusief Award for 25/25 initiative to ensure a growth in the number of female professors

Photo gallery of female professors at our university
Photo gallery of female professors at our university

Our university has been nominated for the 010 Inclusief Award 2023. The Rotterdam based organization behind the award announced this. We have been nominated for our 25/25 initiative, through which we have ensured a growth in the number of female professors at our university. Through mentoring, workshops, independent feedback and financial support, we have ensured more women could advance within our organization.

The 010 Inclusief Awards are being presented for the second time this year. The other nominees in our category are Deloitte and Stedin.

25/25 policy measure

We have been tracking gender distribution in various academic positions for years. We see that there is balanced gender diversity among PhD students and assistant professors. But at each subsequent step in the academic career, gender diversity decreases; men are disproportionately more represented in senior positions. Apparently, there are mechanisms that affect promotion opportunities for men and women unequally. Therefore, we have adopted a policy measure to ensure that by 2025, 25% of professors will be female, up from only 14.5% in 2018. This follows an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Participation in the program was open at all faculties to all female university professors who had the intention to advance in the coming years. In total, we received 100 applications. All applicants were able to participate in the program.

Four pillars

We worked with four pillars that contributed to the talent development of individuals, but also revealed organizational processes:

1: Mentoring. Participants worked with a mentor for a year. The choice of who would be their mentor was up to the mentees themselves. The mentor could come from within the university, but also from an external party.

2: Workshops. Participants participated in workshops provided by inspiring role models within the organization. Participants could suggest topics of their own, so that the workshops matched their needs. Topics included prioritization and career mobility, portfolio development, negotiation skills and work-life balance.

3: Independent feedback. Participants had the opportunity to present their portfolio or resume to a committee consisting of two members from outside our organization and one member from within the EUR. They gave each person independent advice on opportunities for promotion based on each faculty's predetermined criteria.

4: Financial support. Participants could apply for financial support following the independent advice to help with the next step in their careers.

In addition to supporting individuals in their careers, the initiative also uncovered a number of aspects at systemic level that we were able to tackle. These aspects included making written and unwritten criteria for promotion and procedures more transparent.

Thanks in part to the 25/25 policy measure, we have already achieved the goal of having 25% female professors. We have since increased our goal percentage to 35% by 2025.

Applicable to other organizations

The measure can easily be applied in other organizations. The individual components, but especially the combination of mentoring, workshops, independent advice and financial support can be used at any organization and can be used for any underrepresented group in senior positions. This was an important reason for the judges to nominate us.

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