Voorzitter College van Bestuur
In: Uncategorized20 Oct 2011
This week, Erasmus magazine features an accurate – though depressing – overview of the disappointing diversity statistics in our university. We sadly have to recognize that our target of achieving 15% female professors by 1012 will not be met. Some Schools (such as ESL and FSW) are notable exceptions to the rule that male promotions generally seem to prevail. It may sound harsh, but that is the reality. There are days when we (the Executive Board) receive 15 proposals for appointments, all of them for male candidates. I have never seen a proposal made on wrongful or unjust grounds. We appoint good people, that is not the issue. The issue is, that we identify far too few women as top academic talent, and we do not nurture their careers systematically until they reach the pinnacle of their career ambitions. Or we dismiss otherwise perfectly capable academic women as potential top talents because of perceived behavioural or leadership issues. As if all male professors are textbook examples of kind, gentle and pleasant personalities. Rubbish. Professors have long shared a reputation of being fiercly autonomous, notoriously difficult to herd or handle, sometimes even cantankerous personalities. That has never hindered their academic career progression. So I for one would be delighted to appoint talented academic women who fit that mould of delightful eccentricity that makes academics so lovable. In males, that is the X factor. In females, it is often seen as career-limiting. As long as that remains an undiscussable, I fear we will not make much progress.
Pauline van der Meer Mohr is president of the Executive Board and is responsible for general administrative matters, such as the relationship with the Board of Trustees and the University Council. She focuses on the strategic policy, international affairs and external contacts, including the Rotterdam region, industry and other knowledge institutions.