Opening of the academic year at Utrecht University: women take the lead in the Westerdijk year

The first female professor was appointed at Utrecht University a hundred years ago: Johanna Westerdijk. However, one hundred years later, female scientists are far from equally represented among professors. This can be clearly seen each year, in the professors' cortege at the opening of the academic year.

Official occasions like the opening of the academic year play an important role in the image that staff, students, and the public have of the university and university careers. In the Westerdijk year, Utrecht University wants to emphasize the presence and importance of its female professors, and therefore gives them a special place: they will be at the forefront of the cortege at the opening of the academic year, on September 4, 2017.

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In the past 10 years, the percentage of female professors in the Netherlands has increased by, on average, 0.8% every year (source: Dutch Monitor Female Professors (Landelijke Monitor Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren; LNVH)). Despite all the attention that has been paid in recent years to the career perspectives of women, there is still no acceleration of the growth of the percentage. If we do nothing, women will not equally represented until 2054.

Utrecht University thinks that 2054 is too late for equal representation to be achieved. The percentage of female professors at Utrecht University is 21%. Utrecht University aspires to increase the percentage of female professors, and has set various initiatives in motion. The celebration of the Westerdijk year, with activities spread out across the year are a part of those initiatives.



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