In the Erasmus Building on campus Woudestein, a new portrait gallery called ‘Professors Represented’ is revealed. This photo project consists of 72 portraits of current female professors at our university and complements the portraits of (mostly male) professors on display on campus. Semiha Denktaş, Chief Diversity Officer: “It’s important to showcase gender diversity in top academic positions”.
The portrait gallery is on the first floor of the Erasmus Building, outside the Senaatszaal.
Ed Brinksma, President of the Executive Board: “Representation matters. At Erasmus University Rotterdam we want everyone to feel welcome. And we want everyone to feel represented. Role models – and the visibility of role models, like in this portrait gallery – are really important. The project ‘Professors Represented’ is a beautiful and valuable way to showcase the female professorial talent we have at our university”.
Semiha Denktaş, Chief Diversity Officer: “For more than a century only men have been shown on portraits across our campus. It’s important to showcase gender diversity in top academic positions, to make it actually visible for all. That’s why we created this gallery with impressive portraits of our female professors. I’m really proud to see this project in its full glory. And this is only the beginning. Because we are not there yet. The next step is to make sure that we have - in all academic positions - multiple, visible dimensions of diversity, like for example a representation of groups of people who are not white or of European parentage. Representation and role models are important”.
Hub Zwart, Dean and Professor at Erasmus School of Philosophy: “Science autobiographies tend to spotlight famous males, but an important advice for readers of this genre is “cherchez la femme”, because in all these stories about scientific heroes, there always is an exceptional woman who plays a decisive role as colleague, rival, partner or muse, but who has blended into the backdrop of the annals of science. In bestsellers such as Jennifer Doudna’s “Crack in Creation”, however, this perspective is reverted, indicating that female scientists and scholars are now stepping into the spotlights, in all fields. Notorious academic portrait galleries of elderly bespectacled males encounter a challenging competitor in pictures of female academics radiating enthusiasm and commitment. This contributes to literally changing the image of science”.
Being a role model
We asked all female professors we portrayed to give a quote to inspire the next generation. We like to share a selection of these quotes here.
“If something is difficult, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try” – Esther de Bekker-Grob
“Wherever you come from, you can go anywhere you want” – Hanan El Marroun
“You probably sometimes feel insecure. We all do. Or people will let you feel insecure. Try to overcome that barrier. Do what you like to do. Enjoy it!” – Manon Spaander
“What I would like to say to the next generation is never be afraid to speak up and tell others about your passion” – Maureen Rutten-van Mölken
We hope everyone feels inspired by this new photo gallery. Come have a look!