Eindhoven University of Technology aims to address ‘implicit gender bias’
Job vacancies at one of Europe’s leading engineering universities will be open exclusively to female candidates for at least the next 18 months in order to overcome the institution’s “implicit gender bias”.
The rector of the Eindhoven University of Technology, Frank Baaijens, said progress towards a better balance of men and women in academic roles had been stubbornly slow.
Under the new recruitment policy, men will only be eligible for any academic post if no suitable female candidates emerge within six months of a job becoming available.
The proportion of vacancies that will be open only to women will be adapted after 18 months of a five-year programme to reflect the success or otherwise of the scheme.
About 150 jobs are expected to become vacant during the five years and each new female employee will be allocated an additional €100,000 (£90,000) to be spent on their mentoring and their own research.
Baaijens said: “We attach great importance to equal respect and opportunities for women and men. And it has long been known that a diverse workforce performs better.
“It leads to better strategies, more creative ideas and faster innovation. That’s why we’ve had measures in place for years to increase the low percentage of women among our academic staff, but we’re progressing too slowly.
“We’re aware that we are suffering from an implicit gender bias. We are now using the fact that plans to expand our academic staff considerably in the coming years can be used as a means to make a big step forward in one fell swoop.”
The policy will be enforced from 1 July. The university said it wanted at least half of all newly appointed assistant professors to be women over the next five years, with a 35% minimum for recruitment of associate professors and full professors.
EU law allows the targeting of recruitment from underrepresented groups.
Figures from the European commission suggested there was a majority of female scientists and engineers in only five EU member states: Lithuania (57% female), Bulgaria and Latvia (both 53%), Portugal (51%) and Denmark (just over 50%).
In the UK, 41% of scientists and engineers are women – the EU average. The worst-performing countries include Hungary and Luxembourg (25%), Finland (29%) and Germany (33%), whose chancellor, Angela Merkel, is an accomplished scientist. In the Netherlands, 39% of engineers and scientists are female.
There has been a long-running problem of women being attracted to science and engineering degrees only to subsequently fail to find employment.
According to the latest statistics, about three-quarters of female graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics find jobs in those sectors after their studies – 10 percentage points lower than the employment rate of men with the same qualification.
Source: The Guardian
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