I don't love the feeling of doubt. The feeling when you wake up in the night and options keep circling around in your head. And I especially dislike the fact that when it comes to actual career options, you can rarely ever compare options right next to each other like ice cream flavors, it's more like trains at a train station where you choose one that goes somewhere without knowing if 10 minutes later a train to a much nicer destination will leave.
I would really like my brain to be a computer in that way, where I feed information, the computer compares it to the criteria I've set for a decision and then it spits out a yes or no answer.
So what I've tried to do this year is make a clear list of things that I would want in a job and things that I particularly don't want. Some things are easy: I don't want to commute for more than an hour on a daily basis. However, other things are less easy to turn into a clear list to feed into the decision making flow chart.
And a computer would never be flattered when someone suggests a job that they hadn't considered before just because someone suggests they might be good at it, whereas my brain starts to doubt whether to change the criteria when something like that happens.
Or maybe I'm overthinking this too much?
A few days ago I wrote about women in higher positions at Dutch universities and how it seems from research at economics departments that "women are still not gaining a foothold through the regular application and employment policies." At first glance, it is therefore encouraging to see that the Dutch scientific organization, the main funding body of Dutch academic science, has a diversity statement on their website.*
My initial enthousiasm about this waned when I wondered if this is just a tick-box exercise, instead of a true effort to transform Dutch academia into a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem. The reason that got me thinking about this is another edition of "Pump your career", the "Talent day for female scientists". I wrote about issues that I have with this title before, but one of the speakers at this event pointed out that at least NWO removed all the images of shoes from the website, so I guess that is something. But what is more problematic with this event is the fact that it puts the onus - and thus the work - to improve diversity on women. Why does it not focus on everybody to create a more inclusive work environment?
And then I noticed a picture of the recipients of a large amount of grant money and saw that they are all white men (click the picture in the tweet to see more white men!).
So women get a one day event to learn how to negotiate better, but consortia led exclusively by men get 19 million Euro for research.
* But when will NWO start focussing on diversity other than gender diversity...?
Recently, I learned about Anna Maria van Schurman, the first Dutch female student at Utrecht University in 1636. She was allowed to attend lectures, but only when she sat separated from the men, and hidden from them behind a curtain. Apparently men would allow a woman into the unversity, but only if they weren't distracted by her in their studies.
382 years later, women are everywhere in Dutch universities, but when it comes to the top ranks, they are still underrepresented. This survey across economics faculties comes to the following conclusion when assessing what is being done to promote more women to full professors:
The most successful programmes seem to be the additional ones specifically designed for women. In other words: as long as there are extras, women are being appointed. However, women are still not gaining a foothold through the regular application and employment policies.
It begs the question whether the 1636 situation where women are tolerated only when they are hidden behind a curtain is still the case in a way: women are only tolerated in positions that are specifically crafted for them - like a seat at the kids' table-, but they are not given an actual seat at the grown up table.
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