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The University of Amsterdam recently signed the Talent to the Top Charter. The goal of this charter is to increase the number of talented people – especially women – moving into and staying in top jobs in both government and trade and industry.

The University of Amsterdam recently signed the Talent to the Top Charter. The goal of this charter is to increase the number of talented people - especially women - moving into and staying in top jobs in both government and trade and industry. By signing the charter, the UvA is committed to stimulating the promotion of women into top jobs. A study will be carried out during the next six months before concrete steps are taken. A zero measurement will define the current position of the UvA with regard to the percentage of women in various academic positions. Specific goals will then be defined and a plan of action drawn up to achieve these.

Earlier this year the UvA Board announced that it would aim for at least 25% of its professors to be women within the next five years. This percentage is currently 16, which means the UvA already exceeds the national target of 15% specified by Education Minister Ronald Plasterk. The present national average is 11%.

Meeting of signatories

A national meeting was held on Wednesday 3 June at which the first results achieved by signatories were presented and recent charter signatories met to exchange ideas and experiences. This meeting was attended by Professor Dymph van den Boom, Rector Magnificus of the UvA. Education Minister Ronald Plasterk and Economic Affairs State Secretary Frank Heemskerk were at the meeting to emphasise the importance of diversity.

How did the charter come about?

The charter was developed by TopBrainstorm, an initiative launched in May 2007 in collaboration with employers' organisation VNO-NCW, trade union federation FNV, the Socio-Economic Council and corporate representatives, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The ‘Monitoring Talent to the Top' Committee keeps track of whether signatories to the charter actually fulfil their commitments to make sure more women are promoted to top positions.

Other signatories

The charter has currently been signed by 87 organisations altogether, representing almost 6% of all employees in the Netherlands. This includes a large number of universities: Utrecht University, Leiden University, VU Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, Groningen University, Tilburg University, Delft University of Technology and Twente University.