Archive for: November, 2018

On diversity as a tick-box exercise

Nov 12 2018 Published by under Academia, diversity, role models, women in science

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...?

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Women at Dutch universities: from behind a curtain to a seat at the kids' table.

Nov 10 2018 Published by under Academia, everyday sexism, women in science

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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Scientopia fundraiser

Nov 02 2018 Published by under blogging

Just a quick post: if you enjoy reading here, and you'd like to donate to Scientopia, you can do so in the right sidebar. My twitter word cloud sums up pretty well what the topics are on my blog 🙂


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