In an interview, Utrecht University professor Lynda Hardman discusses the pressing need to promote participation of women in science in the Netherlands.
Hardman, who also is a member of the management team of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands, cites cultural and psychological factors underlying the underrepresentation of women, including stereotypes that women are less science-oriented than men and a lack of female role models comfortable with science. "If the teachers are not able to supply this role model, then parents can get involved in sharing their knowledge and interest in science with the girls," Hardman says.
She also says female candidates for high-ranking scientific positions should be rated based on quality instead of quantity, with women receiving more coaching and mentoring.
Hardman envisions prestigious international associations contributing to the promotion of women in science, and notes Informatics Europe (an organization for which she serves as president) "gives guidance for heads of departments, whereas the Association for Computing Machinery [ACM] is more oriented to individual members." In particular, she notes ACM-W Europe hosts events for younger female professionals at various educational levels so they can network and discuss issues together.
Hardman says the institution of a code of best practices for women and information and communications technology by the European Commission does not ensure positive outcomes. She stresses local management should strive to apply the existing code of best practices to grow women's share of science roles.
From Amsterdam Science
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