Are policies to increase women's share among university professors effective? The importance of gender equality on the labor market has been well established, but our understanding of what kind of policy is effective to increase the share of women is still unclear. Three sets of factors explain women's low shares at higher job levels, notably individual, cultural, and structural or institutional perspectives, and policies to increase the proportion of women therefore should address these factors. This paper aims to investigate if they do so and if they are effective. We investigated the efficacy of gender equality policy measures in all 14 universities in the Netherlands, implemented between 2000 and 2007. Based on documents and interviews, 19 measures were identified that could be classified according to the three perspectives. The university with the most measures applied four times more measures than the one with the least measures. The more measures a university applied in the cultural perspective, the more likely it also applied measures in the other two perspectives. Whereas the HR managers and policy makers at universities reported skepticism and lack of evaluations, our study reveals a positive relationship between policy measures and the reduction of the glass ceiling and between policies in the cultural perspective and the increase of the proportion of women among professors.

, , , , , , ,,
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Higher Education: the international journal of higher education and educational planning
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Timmers, T., Willemsen, T., & Tijdens, K. (2010). Gender diversity policies in universities: a multi-perspective framework of policy measures. Higher Education: the international journal of higher education and educational planning, 59(6), 719–735. doi:10.1007/s10734-009-9276-z