FEM - Female Empowerment UM

FEM is a network of academic and administrative staff representing all Faculties of Maastricht University. Our mission is to promote the empowerment of women and female leadership at the university, and to foster a broader culture that supports gender equity and diversity.


  • Raise awareness of challenges and opportunities relating to gender equality and equity within the UM community;
  • Encourage an open discussion and welcoming broadviewpoints on gender equality in terms of career and work life within the UM;
  • Identify current issues and problematic areas of gender equality and equity requiring attention and contribute to shape policies that tackle them;
  • Facilitate collaborative interaction between junior and senior staff members at UM, staff from different faculties and different faculty positions (administration and academic);
  • Increase the visibility of women at the university at all career stages;
  • Highlight and promote female academic leadership at UM;
  • Cooperate with other platforms with a similar vision within and outside the Netherlands (e.g. Landelijk Netwerk Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren, European Women in Mathematics, Athena’s Angels, Mothers in Science) to achieve common goals within our university and beyond.

FEM Book launch 12 December 2022

FEM is delighted to invite you to a book launch where one of the authors Professor Lise Vesterlund will give a keynote on “The No Club: Putting a Stop to Women's Dead-End Work”.

Check out the event page for information and registration!

Cover of the No Club


To realise these goals, FEM has set up five thematic pillars which have the basis of our activities since 2018:

  • Training and Professional Development
    FEM organizes and (partially) funds tailored workshops that: (i) build academic skills and leadership qualities; (ii) strengthen communication and promotion (e.g. negotiation skills) and (iii) raise awareness of behaviour-related topics, e.g. implicit bias, bystander intervention techniques.
  • Mentorship 
    In 2019, FEM successfully ran a mentorship pilot programme. In 2023, we aim to set up a mentoring programme on a thematic group-basis. There, members of our community may receive mentoring on topics such as grant applications, promotions, etc.
  • Networking 
    We provide fora for various networking events: an annual large event and lunches on various topics where participants can debate relevant topics around UM policy or general academic politics on gender issues, e.g. tenure track policy, family friendly work conditions, book clubs.
  • Information
    Through different platforms – the UM and D&I websites, our social media platforms, and the UM-wide newsletters – we maintain a steady stream of communication between FEM and the general UM community and beyond. There, we focus on information transfer, for instance by sharing information on relevant events, grant competitions and other career opportunities, books and other sources relating to gender issues in academia. We also disseminate relevant information through our own networks and through the FEM Ambassadors.
  • Policy
    Since 2020, FEM is aiming to become more involved in policy shaping. In particular, we are in contact with funding agencies at the national and international level. Moreover, we aim to write policy texts with recommendations to improve the gender equality and equity within the UM community. Since 2021, the fifth policy pillar has been added to the FEM agenda.

The FEM Team

FEM was established by a group of female academics working at different faculties of Maastricht University.

Current executive Board of FEM:

Previous board members:

  • Aida Abiad Monge (School of Business and Economics)

  • Alie de Boer (Food Claims Centre Venlo)

  • Christel van Gool (Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences)

  • Rianne Fijten (Maastro Clinic)

  • Sophie Kells (Marketing & Communications)

The FEM Board is also very grateful to be supported by a dedicated community of FEM Ambassadors who contribute to the organization of events and policy actions:

Sharon Anyago, Fèlix Ruiz Cabré, Julia Sewall, Katherine Bassil, Lisa Bruggen, Carla Haelermans, Judith Cosemans, Marlies Gijs, Klara Scupakova, Berta Cillero Pastor, Guben Kacmaz, Ludwig Saskia

Danai, Constance, Luana, Theresa, Chris, Christina, Katrien, Julie, and Aurélie


You can always contact us with questions, suggestions, or ideas at: fem@maastrichtuniversity.nl

For confidential reports or notifications of discrimination or sexual harassment, contact the confidential advisors for employees or students.