Women in the Spotlight 2023

On March 8th, the network Radboud Gender & Diversity Studies and the Radboud Women Professors Network invite you to celebrate International Women's Day 2023. We will have a keynote by Dr. Markha Valenta (University College Utrecht) and a panel discussion in the morning (in English), while in the afternoon we will have three presentations by women professors from Radboud University and the Radboudumc about their research (in Dutch) as well as an award ceremony celebrating four women academics and their inspiring work (in Dutch and English). To accommodate the diversity of our university and city, the event will be partly in English and partly in Dutch. Please consult the full program for further information.


10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-12:30 Lecture Dr. Markha Valenta: ‘Reinventing Global Feminisms in Fluid and Violent Times’, followed by an intergenerational panel discussion (in English). She will discuss current international developments regarding women’s rights and feminism. We cordially invite you to reflect with her on the question: What does it mean to be a feminist today? For the full morning program: see the Radboud Gender and Diversity Studies page.

12:30-14:00 Lunch

14:30-16:30 Women in the Spotlight: three lectures by women professors from Radboud University and Radboudumc (in Dutch)

  • dr. Maria van den Muijsenbergh on poverty and health,
  • dr. Laura van Niftrik on sustainable solutions to nitrogen issues, and
  • dr. Natascha Wagner on motherhood, career and carework

16:30-17:15 Award ceremony: Jubilee Prize by the Women’s Professors Network (in English and Dutch)

17:15-18:00 Reception

Are you interested? Then register here. Please note that there is a limited number of seats.

Practical information

The event is open to anybody who would like to join.

The morning program starts at 10.00. We welcome you in the main hall of the Elinor Ostrom building. Lunch is at 12.30 in The Yard (EOS). The afternoon program starts 14.30 at the Experience Centre (Radboudumc), where we will offer some refreshments and finger food.

Have a question? You can reach us at internationale-vrouwendag@ru.nl.

The speakers

Poverty and health

Prof. dr. Maria van den Muijsenbergh – General practitioner and full professor of health inequalities and person-centered integrated primary care – Radboudumc

The most affluent group in the Netherlands lives 25 years longer in good health than the poorest group. Why is that? Why are poor people less healthy? In this lecture, Maria van den Muijsenbergh discusses who is involved, how these socio-economic health differences are caused and the role of chronic stress and health literacy in this context. Especially, she will discuss what we can do about it as a society and as human beings. Read her full biography.

Nitrogen problems and wastewater: how Anammox bacteria can help us

Prof. dr. Laura van Niftrik – Full professor of microbial cell biology and biochemistry at the Faculty of Science – Radboud University.

The nitrogen cycle is out of balance. Since the industrial revolution, human activity has added excess nitrogen - mainly in the form of ammonia - to our ecosystem. This has far-reaching consequences for the climate: it contributes to global warming and a decline in water quality. Various bacteria can be used to help with this nitrogen problem; for example, by applying bacteria in (waste) water treatment. One such bacterium is the so-called Anammox bacterium. This bacterium can convert the harmful ammonia to harmless nitrogen gas and obtains energy to live from this conversion. In this lecture, Laura van Niftrik discusses the sustainable application of Anammox bacteria within nitrogen problems and wastewater treatment, and how these unique bacteria are able to use ammonia for their metabolism. Read her full biography.

Motherhood, care work and career – Some economic facts about mothers

Prof. dr. Natascha Wagner – Full professor of International Economics at Nijmegen School of Management – Radboud University

Every other person on the planet is a woman. If women, and in particular mothers, do not have equal opportunities, we will not be equipped to deal with future challenges and crises. Women in the Netherlands give birth at an increasingly later age and have fewer children on average. Once they become mothers, they rarely start working full-time anymore: about 70% of women in the Netherlands work less than 36 hours a week. On the one hand, we are praised for the large proportion of working mothers, on the other hand, policymakers are concerned that the majority of them work part-time. In this lecture, Professor Natascha Wagner discusses the situation of mothers in the labor market and the issue of the unpaid care work they provide, from mothers’ perspectives. Read her full biography.