Organisation - October 27, 2016

Case for positive discrimination

Roelof Kleis

A more balanced man-woman ratio among Wageningen scientists is not feasible without positive discrimination. That is researcher Martha Bakker’s conclusion from her study of the impact of tenure track on the chances of promotion for women at Wageningen University & Research.

The study shows that tenure track contributes very little to a better gender balance. So Bakker thinks it is time for other measures, and she proposes making use of ‘Aspasia’ funding. Aspasia is the NWO’s fund aimed at fast-tracking talented women towards full professorships. Each Aspasia grant is worth 200,000 euros, 50,000 euros of which are earmarked for improving gender equality.

Bakker herself is one of Wageningen’s seven Aspasia beneficiaries. Of the 350,000 euros this brought in for gender policy, 150,000 euros are still in the kitty. The rest was spent on WUR’s Gender Action Plan. ‘We as an Aspasia group would want to use the 150,000 euros for some kind of mini-Aspasia. For example, give talented female scientists some time off teaching in order to acquire a prestigious grant.’