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Women’s organisations in the Netherlands still work alone, despite wanting to collaborate on shared goals of equal representation, equal renumeration, social safety and a sense of belonging. This information comes from research undertaken by the Erasmus Centre for Women and Organisations (ECWO) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The research was shared with participants at ECWO’s annual conference, ‘Gender Balanced Leadership Conference: (Re)Connecting (Wo)Men’ on Friday 18 November.

The research has been prepared by Kirsten Kardijk, ECWO’s assistant researcher who is currently studying for an MSc in Governance of Migration and Diversity at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Working with ECWO’s Executive Director  Prof. Hanneke Takkenberg, Kirsten first investigated current women’s organisations and networks in the Netherlands. She then undertook a digital survey to get a clear overview of how these women’s organisations and networks were organised, their economic nature, mission and vision.

“What was interesting is that we found a difference – a mismatch – between what we saw online and what we found in the survey,” explains Kardijk. “In other words, what the organisations claimed to do online and what they actually wanted to do were different.”

Wanted: more collaboration

One of the survey questions asked to what degree the organisations collaborate, and if they would like to collaborate more. The answers revealed that even though they work alone, they actually want to develop their relationships with other organisations and networks.

“The results of the research confirm that women’s organisations in the Netherlands work alone, even though they want to collaborate on the shared goals of equal representation, equal renumeration, social safety and sense of belonging,” states Prof. Takkenberg.

The theme of the 2022 conference is (Re)Connecting (Wo)men, which echoes and broadens a core aspect of ECWO’s work to connect, collaborate, support and amplify women. “The research we undertook showed that women’s organisations are not yet collaborating on common challenges, but they have the ambition to. We hope that through our conference we can help in the creation of a meta network for women’s organisations,” said the professor.

“Noting that we are different, in this case, makes us forget these differences can be complementary,” adds Kardijk. “In the end, we are all working towards a similar goal – creating more gender balance, gender equity and gender equality.”

The ECWO conference also saw the presentation of the first Dianne Bevelander Prize, created to honour ECWO’s founder, Prof. Dianne Bevelander, who died last year. Winner Geke Rosier, founder of RightBrains, was at the event to accept the award.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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