Rector receives film as Father’s Day gift from Athena’s Angels

The new rector magnificus at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Professor Rutger Engels, has received a film as a Father’s Day gift from Athena’s Angels.

In the film, top men in science Robbert Dijkgraaf, Ben Feringa, Alexander Rinnooy Kan, Wim van Saarloos and Carel Stolker view the science machine ‘through the eyes of their daughter’.

Rector magnificus Rutger Engels is pleased with the gift from Athena’s Angels. ‘The current generation must promote an inclusive university with opportunities for everyone. And fathers can play a role in this too. Today’s women leaders are important as prominent role models, inspiring and stimulating the young generation and boosting their resilience.’

Influence of fathers

The gift, accepted by all rectors at Dutch universities, comes from four women professors united under the name Athena’s Angels. They are promoting the position of women in science. They describe their initiative: ‘The position of women in science still gives cause for concern. The many fathers who work at universities can do something about it, for their daughters or women PhD students and postdocs.’ Scholars should also look at research through their daughters’ eyes to gain new perspectives.


In the film, the fathers acknowledge that top positions in science are still dominated by men. The history of science mainly offers male role models and the competitive environment encourages posturing behaviour. There are also persistent implicit prejudices regarding women in high positions.

Vaderdagcadeau Athena's Angels

Erasmus diversity

Organisations with a diverse workforce, particularly in managerial positions, are more innovative, have better decision-making processes and are better able to respond to their environment. EUR promotes equal opportunities for everyone and an inclusive university where everyone feels at home and is able to develop their potential. In 2020, EUR wants female professors to make up 20 per cent of the academic staff. One of its spearheads is making the recruitment and selection processes ‘diversity-proof’.

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