Women are finally gaining ground in science

Foto: Fortepan

Slowly but surely

From doctoral candidate to professors: the percentage of women is increasing in all scientific functions, concludes the Rathenau Instituut. In 2015 there were 832 female professors at Dutch universities and academic medical centers – 20 percent of the total number of professors. ‘The policy to hire more women seems to work, even though very slowly,’ says director Melanie Peters.

Because the route from promotion to professor takes about 19 years, the current number of female doctoral candidates is an important indicator of the number of female professors in the future. While only 8,8 percent of doctoral candidates was female in 1985, in 2015 this was almost 50 percent. The same trend applies to other scientific functions.

‘If we extend this, it means we’ll have to wait until 2035 before we have an equal number of female and male professors’, says Peters.


One way to attract more women to scientific positions is a quota. In January, minister Jet Bussemaker (education, culture & science) announced she will spend 5 million euro’s to achieve an increase of 100 extra female professors at the end of the year. Here’s what two of our top Erasmus women think about quota.


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