Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University appointed extra 25 female professors in 2017

Last year Leiden University appointed an extra 25 female professors. With these appointments the Executive Board has increased the percentage of women in the highest academic role.

The 25 appointments are on top of the already planned appointments of professors. Twelve of the 25 positions are being  financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Academic  Research (NWO), and the remaining 13 by the Executive Board. These appointments brought the proportion of female professors at Leiden University in 2017 to 26 per cent. This is far below our ultimate goal, but it is a step in the right direction. 

Westerdijk year

The extra appointments are one effect of the so-called Westerdijk year. In 2017 it was precisely 100 years ago that the first female professor – Johanna Westerdijk – delivered her inaugural address at Utrecht University. To celebrate this event, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science released funding for a hundred additional female professors, roughly ten for each university. 

Athena’s Angels

The additional funding for female professors was an idea put forward by Athena's Angels, a group of four of Leiden's female professors who strive to promote the interests of women in academia. Mission accomplished, then, for Ineke Sluiter, Eveline Crone, Judi Mesman and Naomi Ellemers (now at Utrecht University).