Dutch University accused of bias in “women only” recruitment policy


Eindhoven University for Technology implements a woman only recruitment policy

Gender diversity for positions in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) continues to lag behind the rest of the market place. In 2018 only 19% of engineering and technology students were female. Over the 4 previous years, female graduate numbers increased from 24% to 26%.


Eindhoven University for Technology, one of Europe’s leading engineering universities has taken a drastic and controversial approach by opening vacancies exclusively to women for the first 6 months a role is advertised.


Since the policy was implemented last July, the university has increased its cohort of women by 25%.


Although the policy seems to have been successful, it may fall foul of the Law. The university has been asked to explain the policy by the Dutch Institute of Human Rights.

The university rector, Frank Baaijens, in reaction to this said “We will have to see if we have to adjust the programme, But I think all in all people are positive and we are making the change that we are looking for.”

He also explained how other recruitment policies to increase diversity had failed, such as having a diverse appointments committee.

The university plans on running the policy for 5 years with a target to have 30% of tenured staff to be female.

Baaijens ended with “There is a significant indication that there is an implicit gender bias in science, so that may have inhibited the number of females we have been able to recruit. And if you are facing a male-dominated environment it might not be that attractive for females to apply for a position, so you have to do something to get change.”

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