Zoek in de site...

#MeToo in Academia workshop summary and recommendations

On April 24th the Radboud Women of Computing Science and Halkes Women Faculty Network organised the workshop “#MeToo in Academia: How does it feel and how to fight it?”. The aim of this workshop was to give women the possibility to talk about sexual harassment in an academic environment. Moreover, we wanted to provide tips and tricks from professionals in the field and create a safe environment to discuss sexual harassment and to think about what (else) the university can do about sexual harassment.

The workshop started with a word of welcome by Drs. Wilma de Koning, vice president of the executive board. She emphasized that the Board of Executives of the Radboud University takes sexual harassment seriously and that they are open to suggestions to improve the current policy of the University. Prof. em. Toine Lagro-Janssen gave a keynote speech on Sexual Harassment in Academia. In addition to facts and figures about the occurrence of sexual harassment in the academic environment, she provided the participants with some personal recommendations and do’s and don’ts. The main message is that women (and men) have to take themselves seriously, only you can define what kind of behaviour is intimidating, and no one has the right to intimidate you.



·        Give and ‘I-message’

·        Give a ‘you-message’

·        Specify the intimidating behaviour

·        Use defensive language

·        Say that you want it to stop

·        Apologise

·        Make yourself look bigger

·        Talk with a high-pitched voice

·        Speak with a clear voice

·        Argue

·        Look at the other person

·        Smile

·        Repeat your message if necessary

Note: these do’s and don’ts are based on Toine Lagro-Janssens’ keynote speech

Ms. Heleen Kloosterhuis, one of the confidential advisors at the Radboud University, talked about the role of confidential advisors and what they can and cannot do for victims of sexual harassment at the Radboud University. If you want to know about the role of confidential advisors, you can watch this insightful video. More information about the confidential advisors can be found here.

The last part of the #MeToo event consisted of a workshop led by Dr. Inge Bleijenbergh. During this workshop, there was room to discuss personal experiences with sexual harassment, and to talk about what (else) the University can do about sexual harassment. The main recommendations about what can be done about sexual harassment are:

  • Prevention:

The university already has policy on how to deal with sexual harassment, but less attention is paid to the prevention of sexual harassment. It is important to create a safe environment at the University.

  • Teach students:

Awareness about sexual harassment and its consequences for victims should start with students. Just as attention for scientific integrity is integrated in the curriculum of almost every study programme, attention for sexual harassment could be integrated in the curriculum.

  • Inform and train people, and actively involve men:

It is important that more people are aware of what sexual harassment is and its impact on victims. Although both women and men are victims, it is mostly women that are sexually harassed by men. It is therefore relevant that not only women, but also men are actively involved in the prevention and recognition of sexual harassment. One suggestion is to incorporate this in (existing) staff trainings.

  • Regular surveys:

It is recommended to hold surveys regularly to get better insights into the incidence and  type of sexual harassment at the Radboud University, both among students and staff. A good basis survey has been used by the Science faculty to examine staff (EGERA project) and students (gender & diversity committee).

All these recommendations have also been send to the Executive Board of the Radboud University.