Gender Equality in Academia and Research
Stimulating personal development to improve women academics’ positions (NL)
Radboud University (Netherlands) started in September 2010 with a mentoring programme for women academic and administrative staff. After a positive evaluation, it was decided to continue this programme, but exclusively for women academics. The programme organises mentor groups for talented scientists to gain more insight into their current work position and what activities and skills are necessary for them to grow. There is room for about 35 female participants. Evaluation of the programme has shown that the mobility of scientists can be improved by mentoring, e.g. many received important grants and improved their position. The aim of the programme is to provide practical support and advice for women talents (particularly post-docs, assistant and associate professors), who want to develop their academic careers. The mentoring trajectory is custom made: mentees choose their own mentor (men or women preferably from another faculty or department). In a series of interviews it will often be the mentee who determines the themes and topics to discuss. The mentor can help the mentee with: their personal and professional development, gaining a better understanding of the organisation, establishing useful contacts and gaining new access to networks. On average, mentees have five to six meetings with their mentor per trajectory, which maximally takes up to one year. In addition to the mentoring programme, a career coach can be contacted within the Human Resources department. Approaching a coach is based on the outcomes or specific needs of the mentoring programme. The goal of coaching is to deepen the themes from the meetings with the mentor even further. The programme includes several workshops and peer-reviews with colleagues. For example, there are workshops on networking, negotiating or personal branding.