More and more female academics

An increasing number of women are working at Dutch universities. Proportionally, there are now as many women teaching at the universities as there are female PhD candidates.

photo Bart van Overbeeke

This emerges from the latest statistic regarding personnel at Dutch universities. Women represent 44.5 percent of all PhD candidates and the same now applies to university lecturers.

There are also an increasing number of women professors and associate professors: 27 percent and 32 percent respectively.

Furthermore, the increase seems to be progressing more quickly than before. In the last ten years, the percentage of women professors has risen by 12 percentage points. In the last ten years before that, the figure was 8 percentage points.

This is due partly to the efforts of former Education Minister Jet Bussemaker (PvdA), who in 2017 asked the universities to appoint an additional 100 women professors in that same year. That number was in addition to the target figures that the universities had already set.

Nevertheless, there are universities where the proportion of women professors declined last year. They include both the frontrunner, the Open University, and the bottom-placed institution, Delft University of Technology. The decrease at the latter, however, can be seen only after the decimal point. The only other decline in the proportion of women professors was at Radboud University Nijmegen.


The graph below shows that the proportion of women professors at TU/e slightly stagnated between 2020 and 2021. In the same period, the Irène Curie Fellowship program, which aimed to increase the percentage of women on the permanent scientific staff, was temporarily shut down. In May 2021 the ICF program made a comeback in modified form.

The universities have set target figures for the proportion of women professors in 2025. They did so last year at the request of the Dutch Network of Women Professors. According to forecasts made by the network, only Wageningen, Delft and the University of Amsterdam might have difficulty attaining their target figure.

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