MAASTRICHT. “A mind-shift is needed, and in certain cases it may be necessary to appoint an external female candidate, even when suitable internal male candidates are available.” That is what the memo about Women in Academia by the Executive Board states. During the opening of the academic year, it was announced that the Board would draw up plans to increase the number of women in higher positions. This concerns senior lecturers, professors and support staff from Scale 15. In the meantime, a working group has formulated recommendations.
Faculties should identify female talent in their field, also those who do not work at the UM. A talent programme is being set up for these women, after the example of Steep Face (at FHML), which enables them to acquire the necessary competences and skills. The participants are also assigned a mentor, a man or a woman recruited internally and not necessarily working in the same faculty. The idea of the mentor programme comes from the School of Business and Economics, who themselves are also preparing a catch-up effort.
Members from recruitment and appointment committees may also be given training to recognise and avoid “subconscious exclusion mechanisms” towards women.
The obligation to specifically search for suitable women when there is a vacancy, remains in force. When faculties put forward a candidate for a professor’s appointment, they must make it clear what exactly they did, what the results were, and why the candidate is not a woman. A protocol is being drawn up for this. Female candidates who meet the requirements must at any rate be invited for an interview.
In 2009, the UM’s target was to have 20 per cent female professors in 2010 and 25 per cent in 2014. Those numbers were not reached. Nevertheless, the target figure has been raised to 30 per cent female professors in 2020.
The time is right, because quite a few men are on the brink of retirement; 31 of them are sixty or older.