Gender diversity in academia – sharing slides for management

At IVM – VU Amsterdam gender diversity is high on the agenda. We currently have no female professors and no female staff members with children. Over the past years five female tenure-track staff members have left, which is why our percentage of female staff has decreased. These are very worrying numbers and to find solutions we first need to have a very good look at the reasons for this (both individual and systemic). What is the bigger picture?

With a group of colleagues (Julia Blasch, Marlies Barendrecht, Nadia Bloemendaal, Ana Cassanti, Nynke Schulp, Johanna Koehler, Marta Talevi, Fujin Zhou) we looked at the literature about women in academia and tried to link that to our own experiences and the patterns we saw in our organisation. This gave us insight in some root causes and possible solutions going forward. This is work in progress and even during the process new literature on gender bias in academia, the unequal impacts of the COVID pandemic, etc. came out.

When sharing our initiative via Twitter, it received a lot of responses and requests to share the information we gathered with the wider community, for people to build on this and use it in their own organisation. We are happy to share the presentation (without the specific personal or organisational content). It can be found on Google Drive here. We share it with a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC licence, which means that others can remix, adapt, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they acknowledge us. We are happy for you to download and adapt the presentation for your own use in your organisation (acknowledging us), but would also encourage anyone to add to these slides, for example by summarising more literature or adding more suggestions for management.

Our initiative is now being discussed by management at institute and faculty level and we are positive that this ongoing process will bring some change. Our next steps are to organise wider discussions within the institute about gender, but also other aspects of diversity, following up the excellent work of my colleague Ana on decolonising our teaching.

Together we can build a more equal, more inclusive and more diverse academia! Please contribute and share! To be continued…