At International Women’s Day 2022, RISE proudly presents the RISE award to Prof. dr. Paul Wouters in recognition of his extraordinary commitment to increasing gender equality at the Faculty of Science.
From April 1 to December 31 2021, Prof. Wouters was acting dean at the Faculty of Science. In this short period, Paul has greatly increased the visibility of our women’s network RISE and ensured that the importance of the network for diversity policy is widely recognized within the faculty.
In his first email to us as RISE board of RISE, Prof. Wouters wrote: “Increasing diversity in the university and making the management more inclusive has been a top priority in my administrative actions for some time. And that is only possible if we collaborate and support each other in that endeavour. I therefore hope that you also think an introductory meeting is a good idea.”
It is evident that Prof. Wouters considers diversity and inclusion to be very important at all levels and that he acts intrinsically accordingly. Hence, after the first introductory meeting, we were soon able to organize a “meet the dean” session in which the members of our network were able to share their concerns and experiences regarding the position of women within the faculty with him in an open conversation that was very much appreciated from both sides. In addition, he has put subject of diversity on the agenda in his meetings with the scientific directors, has ensured that RISE sits at the table during the consultations about the transition and culture change within our faculty, has invited RISE for an interview during the faculty opening of the academic year and has included an article about RISE in the Leiden Science 2021 “proud” yearbook of the faculty. These are just a few good examples, but we are convinced that in the many conversations he has had with various parties, Prof Wouters has also brought the activities of our network to the attention, both within and outside our faculty.
Through Paul’s commitment, we got much better positioned to achieve our network’s goals, including raising awareness of the importance of gender equality and helping build an inspiring work environment for female scientists within our faculty. We are extremely grateful to him for that, and for that he deserves the RISE award, a prestigious prize that is presented to people in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to increasing gender equality at the Faculty of Science at Leiden University. The women’s network RISE was launched about 6.5 years ago and this is (only) the 3rd time that we award the prize.