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UU wants 40 to 60 percent of its academics to be female by 2025

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In 2025, 35 percent of full professors and 40 percent of associate professors should be female, according to the new targets unveiled by Utrecht University right before the holidays. This means between 40 and 60 percent of academic staff should be female by 2025.

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The targets were announced in the Gender Equality Plan, which covers the period of 2021 to 2025. The document meets a requirement from the European Commission, which has stipulated that, starting in 2022, universities must have a gender equality plan in order to be eligible for Horizon Europe funding.

According to the Plan, UU would like to see the number of female full professors rise from 27 to 35 percent and the number of associate professors increase from 35 to 40 percent. But the university is not far from reaching its announced goal. The latest numbers, shared in a document to the University Council on October 10, 2021, indicate that over 30 percent of full UU professors are female, as are 38.94 percent of associate professors.

As for how the university is going to achieve these targets, it says that, based on this university-wide policy, each faculty will have its own gender policy with a target for female scientists, how to achieve it, and how to monitor progress.

UU stresses that, thanks to the national sector plans, a programme in which the Dutch government invests to expand research capacity and attract new research talent, at least 35 percent of the new positions to be opened in the Faculty of Science for the fields of Computer Science, Science, Chemistry and Mathematics will be occupied by women.

When it comes to gender diversity in the student body, UU traditionally has more female students: about 53 percent of UU students were female in 2020. According to the report, some programmes would like to attract more female students, while others would like to increase the number of men. That’s why the Diversity: Intake & Selection project, which focuses on making the intake and selection process more inclusive, allowed each Bachelor’s or Master’s programme to formulate its own goals and plan of action, which in some cases resulted in programme-specific marketing plans.

Last but not least, the university would like to make sure that the faculty boards are diverse as well. The new document stresses the previously-announced policy that neither the Executive Board nor the Faculty Dean will agree to a nomination if it does not contribute to achieving a minimum of 30 percent of women on the board.

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