Fighting gender inequality in the workplace with Feminer

Floor Doppen is currently in her third year of Liberal Arts and Sciences and majoring in Economics. When she and three friends heard about the inequality rates in the workplace, they had to take matters into their own hands. The result is Feminer: a yearly event where students and female leaders engage in conversation during a three-course meal. With the help of STUF, Ikbengeweldig foundation, TOPdesk and a crowdfunding they managed to organize a successful event. 

Why did you set up Feminer?

Myra and Eloe where the ones that got the idea to connect students and female leaders. Me and Lynn then got involved and the four of us elaborated it to a convincing concept. The inequality rates we heard about in a lecture made us realize that something needs to be done about the problem. For example, only 19% of professors and 6% of directors are women. It would be a shame if fellow female students get discouraged by these numbers: that is why Feminer wants to encourage and motivate females to pursue their ambitions. 

Why is it important for female students to get into contact with female leaders?

We want to inspire, motivate and activate them to follow their dreams. For graduating female students, it can be important to ask certain questions to other ambitious women. My sister just got her Medicine diploma and is contemplating whether she wants to specialize...and how she’s going to combine that with a family of her own. These are questions that keep female students busy. Getting the opportunity to discuss this kind of issues will help them to shape their ideal future.  

Feminer wants to encourage and motivate females to pursue their dreams and ambitions

The first edition took place on the 15th of May. What was the day like?

50 female students and 10 female leaders attended the first edition. Between each course, students switched tables to meet several inspirational women in one evening. A broad selection of female leaders attended the evening. Hafida Abahai, CEO of Weber Shandwick was one of them. ‘Use criticism as fuel, not as poison’ was her advice to the young women. For me personally, it was a great success - both students and female leaders were very enthusiastic about the evening. The first event definitely gave us a lot of energy and motivation to organize new editions in the future! 

What are your thoughts on entrepreneurship while studying? 

I do see entrepreneurship as an important part of university. When you are young, you still have that likeability and goodwill that will fade when you are older. You do not have to maintain your own family and that gives you a lot of freedom to try things out. Dare to take that risk! Gaining the courage to take the step and to reach out to people has taught me a lot and gave me some valuable lessons along the way. 

Are there any future plans for Feminer?

We do want to expand to more student cities, but at the moment we are looking how we want to shape the future of Feminer. It’s a nationwide problem so we want to organize several smaller, informal get-togethers that will convince more students to participate. Including men in future events will raise awareness for this inequality problem among all students and that is one step in the right direction in my opinion.

We have a lot of potential ideas for new events, so visit our website or follow us on Facebook to keep yourself updated!