Record number of female scientists visit Pump Your Career

24 November 2015

‘You’re never ready for the next step. Just go for it, even if you’re scared to death.’ This statement by the event’s host, Eva Jinek, kicked off the day for more than 600 women in Amersfoort. Pump Your Career, a talent and career day for women in science, was organised by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Dutch Network for Women Professors (LNVH). The record number of visitors confirmed the usefulness and necessity of this unique women’s event

Event host Eva Jinek, LNVH chairperson Catholijn Jonker and NWO chairperson Jos Engelen opened Pump Your Career. Photo: Ivo de BruijnEvent host Eva Jinek, LNVH chairperson Catholijn Jonker and NWO chairperson Jos Engelen opened Pump Your Career. Photo: Ivo de Bruijn

Although the Netherlands has more female than male students, women are under-represented in the upper echelons of science. A great deal of talent remains unexploited, despite the existence of an incentive policy to promote the advancement of women. Today, Pump Your Career provided women with the opportunity to further develop what they already excel in and make the best use of it for their careers in science.

A wide range of workshops, lectures and interviews gave participants the opportunity to learn additional skills, meet role models, obtain information about how to apply for research grants and exchange experiences: ‘My environment is still defined by a male culture, but if you see how many women are here today, then I think to myself “wow!” The female scientist doesn’t exist – the diversity of women here is immense, but one word is all you need to understand each other,’ a participant said.

Monitor Women Professors 2015

The LNVH’s Monitor Women Professors 2015, which was presented during the opening plenary of Pump Your Career, revealed that women are now more highly represented in all scientific positions in essentially all scientific areas. The number of female managers in scientific organisations is growing as well, albeit gradually. On a less positive note, however, only 16.9% of professors are female, even though the percentage of full-time female professors has risen by 2.3% since the 2012 Monitor.

‘The higher the category of the position, the smaller the percentage of women,’ said Marise Born, professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and LNVH board member. ‘In that respect, the Netherlands scores worst among all countries in north-western Europe.’ Jet Bussemaker, minister of education, culture and science, responded by calling for action. ‘Go for it, use your female talent. Let’s ensure that together we make things change quickly, so that by the time of the next Monitor we can say that our efforts resulted in more female professors.’ Breaking with the current culture, creating role models, establishing quotas: though there is not one single solution, representatives from the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres and NWO all indicated in the ensuing panel discussion that they would like to commit themselves to a better balance between women and men in science.

Publiek pump your career. Beeld: Ivo de BruijnBeeld: Ivo de Bruijn

Role models

‘I know someone who pressed ahead with her career in science because she had a successful female professor as a role model,’ a participant said. No lack of role models at Pump Your Career. Halleh Ghorashi, professor of diversity and integration at VU University Amsterdam, spoke of her experience ‘as an inspiring voice for others’. Speakers José van Dijck, professor and the first female president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Naomi Ellemers, professor of social and organisational psychology at Utrecht University, who presented her research on gender inequality in the granting of research funding, also generated considerable enthusiasm from the public. The same applied to mathematician and journalist Ionica Smeets, who concluded the day with her column.

Publiek pump your career. Beeld: Ivo de BruijnBeeld: Ivo de Bruijn

Source: NWO


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