Faculty of Science wants more women

23-02-2016, 16:19

The Faculty of Science is lacking in female professors. Yesterday dean Stan Gielen launched a new action plan to reverse the trend. ‘We are losing too much female talent.’

Illustratie: Roel Venderbosch
Illustration: Roel Venderbosch

As part of the new measures, the Faculty of Science will start conducting exit interviews with departing women. In recent years, a couple of women left Radboud University prematurely. Biologist Nicole van Dam and physicist Sylvia Speller are just two of them. According to Gielen, the low share of women is caused partially by subconscious behavior: women tend to take responsibility for the whole process, while men keep doing their own thing. ‘They like to leave the responsibility to women, which causes them to get overworked more quickly.’ The numbers presented yesterday during the launch of the new plan, spoke volumes: the body of professors at the Faculty of Science is a male bastion, just 8 percent (7 professors) is female. Gielen says this looks rather meagre when compared to the rest of the university, but also when contrasted to other Faculties of Science in the European Union. ‘We should feel ashamed. A lot of female talent is lost here.’

Gender team Physics professor Annalisa Fasolino presented the new action program this morning, as leader of the faculty ‘gender team’. One of her main focal points is improving the work-life balance: that will help improve the amount of women and it creates ‘a better climate for science and innovation’. A couple of the action points: more women in application committees, coaching, and a bonus of 50,000 euro to continue doing research during maternity leave. Can the dean promise that an eighth woman will join the team of professors before he leaves in September? A couple of proceedings are currently ongoing, but he can’t make any promises. He can reveal however that the appointment procedure for the new Multimedia Information Technology chair, on the cutting edge of beta and alpha sciences, has been completed. So yes, before he leaves his position as dean, the eighth woman will be a fact: Martha Larson. / Paul van den Broek

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