Top apartheid in the beta sciences

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Gelijkheid van man en vrouw is in de Nederlandse bètatop ver te zoeken, vindt Henri Sand, Henriette Schluepmann. Wie heeft de moed om die situatie te veranderen?

Gelijkheid van man en vrouw is in de Nederlandse bètatop ver te zoeken, vindt Henri Sand, Henriette Schluepmann. Wie heeft de moed om die situatie te veranderen?

Should we inform about the total absence of diversity in the self-proclaimed topsectoren, at the top of NWO, the NWO committees responsible for the distribution of tax money, and the university professors at the Betafaculty here in Utrecht? 4 From the 7 female professors of a cohort of 100 professors at the UU Betafaculty have just left. 

Or, would telling the truth about parity discourage our talented student diversity? Would generating awareness of the lacking leitmotivs detract our potential UU clients? Would DEVISING A STRATEGY FOR CHANGE threaten socio-cultural constructions that define the top, compromise productivity or even the Netherlands identity? 

Integrity dictates that beta scientists nurture talents and provide equal opportunity not lure them into believing that there is equal opportunity when there is not. Besides, our student talents are smart skeptics who will find out eventually yet still suffer the consequences. There is no equal opportunity at our university (e.g. Behind the scenes of science: gender practices in the recruitment and selection of professors in the Netherlands, 2009, Marieke van den Brink). The lack thereof undermines the credibility of the educational institution UU and its education and scientific output. 

Implementation of equal opportunity is hampered by the fact that mentors are also competitors in the precarious employment and research funding system; the precarious employment is paradoxical to the long specialist training and practice required for scientists to access to prominence. The prevailing strategy for success in such a system is that of a solidarity network of conforming brotherhood actively excluding competition. Such solidarity networks are not of diverse minded because diverse minds find it harder to communicate and establish trust and solidarity.

To brake such deviation United States students and education, research and funding institutions together, have imposed diversity, have had the courage to actively stop tolerating exclusion, intimidation, denigration, discrimination. Parity and diversity was imposed in public and private conferences including in organizing committees thus catalyzing communication, understanding, trust and respect and finally investment across perceived barriers. The results are becoming obvious when comparing for example the diversity of professorial staff at UU with that at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute.

Not all is perfect either side of the ocean, but do we have any cultural reason to stick to top apartheid in beta sciences forever?

Henri Sand

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