Minister exaggerates diversity plan, right-wing parties say

Outgoing Minister Van Engelshofen imposes much of her will on universities to make science more “diverse” and “inclusive”, according to the VVD, among others. The mood around this hot political issue does not seem to have calmed yet.

The secretary wants to provide more opportunities for women scientists, who have immigrant backgrounds or who don’t fit the traditional picture. You think this improves the quality of the research, but critics are skeptical.

fierce discussions

Last year, the minister presented a national action plan for more diversity, which has received a lot of support, including from the universities themselves. But the plan has led to heated debates in the House of Representatives about, among other things, immigration background registration for staff and students. Some parties believed that the plans went too far and that the VVD party was afraid of “intolerant racism”.

Resistance also escalated among university employees, but the minister did not give up. In July, she noted critics’ new European requirements: from 2022, institutions must submit a “gender equality plan” when applying for research funding. To make it easier for the institutions, they had a “handbook” written to draw up such a plan, but it didn’t do well in The Hague.

In addition to the mandatory European requirements, it also included additional proposals from the National Action Plan. In addition to “gender,” organizations can also pay attention to the cultural background, social class, sexual orientation, and job limitations of staff and students.

do not worry

VVD, SGP, and CDA came up with important questions, but written answers The minister does not reassure Member of Parliament Hattie van der Wood (VVD). As far as she is concerned, the minister only had to point out the minimum European requirements for the institutions, she says when asked. “This shows that the minister chose to move universities in a certain direction through all kinds of additional indications.”

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According to Van Engelshoven, the content and quality of research will continue to be critical to the allocation of funding, even if the Gender Plan goes into effect. It is said that the Council of Ministers worked hard for this during the negotiations in Europe. The Gender Equality Scheme must meet minimum European requirements, but is not evaluated further in terms of content.

The last word has not yet been said on this matter. The VVD wants to reopen the political debate after the summer break.

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