Interview of the Month: Dutch Network of Women Professors – LNVH (03/2017)

Every month, for you, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here


Our member for March is the Dutch association Dutch Network of Women Professors (Landelijk Netwerk Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren, LNVH)

For LNVH, the full board has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

From left to right:

Halleh Ghorashi – Professor in Diversity and Integration at the Sociology department at the VU University Amsterdam.
Sandra Ponzanesi – Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Studies, Department of Media and Culture Studies/Graduate Gender Programme, Utrecht University
Ingrid Molema (president) – Professor in Life Sciences at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Groningen
Willemien den Ouden – Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden Law School, Leiden University
Angela Maas (treasurer) – Professor of Women’s Cardiac Health at the Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen.

Contact this association: / tel. 0031 30 600 1360
Association website:


EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

The Dutch Network of Women Professors is a lobbying organisation, a centre of expertise and a network of over 1100 women professors and associate professors, representing every discipline and all universities in the Netherlands.

EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

The goal of the Dutch Network of Women Professors is to promote equal representation of women within the academic community. LNVH hopes to achieve this by strengthening the links between women professors and associate professors in the Netherlands (inter-, as well as intra-disciplinary); by giving support in all activities surrounding professorships and associate professorships; by promoting the rise of capable women to higher university positions (and by preventing their efflux); by collaborating with organisations with comparable goals, in the field of academic research and education; and by striving for numerically proportionate representation of women in committees and advisory boards in the field of academic research and education.

EPWS: what is the history of LNVH, in a few words?

LNVH began life informally in the nineties, and became a foundation on the 9th of August 2001. From 2006 onwards, LNVH receives structural funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

LNVH Board member Halleh Ghorashi at Pump Your Career (career event for female scientists, organized by LNVH and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) [November 19, 2015. Photo by Ivo de Bruijn].

EPWS: Could you explain the organization of your association?

The board and bureau are the heart of LNVH. The board consists of five women professors. In composing the board, scientific backgrounds and institutions of the board members are considered, to secure an accurate representation of Dutch academia. The bureau is run by a senior policy officer and a project officer.

EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

In the fall of 2016, we published a report in which the differences between the financial remunerations of male and female academic staff at Dutch Universities were mapped. Conclusion: if men and women of the same age and in the same job level are compared, women earn on average EUR 53 less per month than men. Following up on this report, a majority of Dutch universities have instigated further research on these differences within their own institutions.

The Women Professors Monitor is a yearly publication which offers insight into the current ratio of men to women in academia and an overview of the current percentages of male and female professors and board members at Dutch universities, university medical centres and other academic organisations. In doing so, the Monitor forms the foundation of gender/diversity policy and measures, prompts the relevant parties to take actions, and provides insight into the obstacles that are still impeding the promotion of women to top level positions. The 2016 edition was published in December 2016.

LNVH has supported five young scientists at the Technical University Delft in starting a petition in which a national policy is requested that extends the evaluation period and the appointment of the tenure track with the time spent on pregnancy and parenthood. Following up on this petition (over 1500 signatories), LNVH is frequently in consultation about these issues with both the unions and the ministries involved.
On the occasion of the 100th year anniversary of the inaugural lecture of the first women professor, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has announced one hundred new chairs for women professors. These chairs are being created as part of a unique collaborative venture between the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, with the support of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the LNVH.

Next to activities aimed at influencing policy, LNVH of course strongly focuses on its network function. We support affiliates by offering peer-to-peer coaching and by linking mentors to mentees. In 2016, associate professor affiliates formed an associate professor liaison group, which provides the LNVH board with advice and input on relevant topics and holds consultations twice a year.

TV host Eva Jinek interviews one of the two laureates of the 2016 For Women in Science Fellowship (partnership L’Oréal, UNESCO, LNVH and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study) [November 29, 2015. Photo by Barbara Kieboom]

EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

The upcoming annual LNVH Spring Symposium (open for female academics of all levels) is devoted to media and communication and to investing in relations with media makers. Leading journalists, producers and editors will discuss all aspects of appearing in different sorts of media. The goal of this day is to help make women scientists more visible in media.

LNVH will be issuing a new study in which the leaky pipeline (the loss of female academics (and talent) in each career level) is approached as a business case: what are financial consequences of this ‘brain drain’ and how are universities affected by this?

The Women Professors Monitor offers insight in the share of women scientists on each career level, and for each university. However, universities and science organisations feel the need to expand this monitoring to faculty levels. They are committed to provide these figures and have asked LNVH to take this up.

LNVH values the stories behind the figures, reports, visualisations and numbers. These individual stories and anecdotes speak to our imagination, raise awareness about inequality and will set relevant issues on the agenda once more. This is why we, together with theatre makers, will be working on a play about the chances, opportunities and challenges women encounter at the academic workplace.

LNVH president Ingrid Molema takes the mic at the celebration of 100 year of women professors in the Netherlands [February 10, 2017. Photo by Ivar Pel]

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

LNVH is highly appreciative of EPWS bringing parties together and making connections across Europe. We often meet other EPWS members at international conferences.

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

Despite a number of initiatives and interventions, progress in the Netherlands is quite slow. Therefore, we are focused on acceleration. Exchanging knowledge and sharing best practices with other networks is key. Also, the EPWS members could offer useful insight on the effects of certain policies at the actual workplace, from a women’s network’s point of view.

Emblem of the 2016 Women Professors Monitor [Design by Studio Lakmoes].


Favourite Links

LNVH’s own website:
LNVH is on twitter, check:
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) explains all about its gender and diversity policy at:
The Association of universities in the Netherlands has marked gender as a focus area, see:
European Institute for Gender Equality:
GARCIA Project (and related projects):

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