Eindhoven University’s decision to restrict job vacancies to women in an effort to boost the proportion of female academics in its workforce contravenes the law on equal treatment, the Dutch human rights council College voor de Rechten van de Mens said on Friday.
Eindhoven said a year ago that for 18 months, all academic jobs would be open to female candidates only in an effort to improve the balance between men and women on the permanent staff. If a vacancy fails to attract suitable candidates within six months, it is opened up to men. Female newcomers are also given an extra starter package, including €100,000 which they can use for their own research and a special mentoring programme.
The university was taken to the human rights council by anti-discrimination bureau Radar which said it had received over 50 complaints. While giving preference to one sex over another is not illegal in itself, it is only possible under strict conditions, the human rights council said in its ruling. ‘And that means you have to weigh up all interests, including those of men,’ spokeswoman Adriana van Dooijeweert told broadcaster NOS. ‘You have to show that you have tried every possible other measure before you go for a women-only policy.’