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PhD-position 'Women who work and men who care: Toward a two-sided approach to achieving gender equality'


Job description
The department of Social and Organizational Psychology is looking for PhD candidates on a project related to gender equality in the workplace. The project is conducted in a close collaboration between the Social and Organizational Psychology department and the Sociology department. The position mainly involves research tasks (90%); candidates will also be involved in the teaching curriculum of the department (10%, e.g., supervision of MA and BA theses).

Many interventions to stimulate gender equality in the workplace take a one-sided approach that focuses on women’s career opportunities only (e.g., stimulating women’s ambitions with female role models, enabling women to flexibly combine work with family). The same gender roles that limit women’s career opportunities also result in negative evaluations of male employees who request parental leave. In this project a two-sided approach to improving gender equality at work will be developed by not only examining the opportunities of women to achieve career success, but by also acknowledging within work settings the family roles of men. The project will examine different ways in which organizational support for the work and family roles of male and female employees can be communicated, such as role modeling by male and female executives and pro-actively offering childcare arrangements (e.g. parental leave, flexible work times) not only to female but also to male employees. In this way, cooperation between males and females within organizations may become more sustainable as well.

This project will combine multiple methods, e.g. correlational and experimental field studies among male and female subordinates as well as lab experiments in which conscious and unconscious mediating processes can be determined, for example with measures of psychophysiological and neural processes.

This PhD-project (four years) will be conducted at Utrecht University, in a close collaboration between the Social and Organizational Psychology department and the Sociology department. The project will be supervised by Prof. Belle Derks, Prof. Naomi Ellemers and Prof. Tanja van der Lippe.

• Completed research or academic master in social sciences, a degree in Social and/or Organizational Psychology is preferred;
• Experience and affinity with quantitative research methods and statistical data analysis;
• Experience with psychophysiological and/or neuroscience research methods is desirable;
• A keen interest in both fundamental research and the application of behavioral theories to practice;
• Good command of English language;
• Good academic writing skills.

The initial appointment to the position will be made for a 1,0 FTE for one year that, with satisfactory completion, will result in an extension for an additional three years. It is expected that the appointee will complete the PhD degree within this period. The salary is €2125,- gross per month in the first year and €2717,- gross per month in the fourth year, for a full time contingent on satisfactory performance. The salary is supplemented with an annual holiday pay of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. We offer flexible working conditions to support a good work – life balance of our employees. Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible employment conditions.

About the organisation
Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles that are centred on four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas: Behaviour in Social Contexts; Child and Adolescent Studies; Cognitive and Clinical Psychology; Education and Learning; and Methodology and Statistics. More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.
The position is available at the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology. The department’s research concentrates on three interrelated domains: Motivation, Self-regulation, and Performance, combining fundamental and applied approaches to study human cognition and behavior in the social, organizational and work contexts. A variety of methods are employed including behavioral lab experiments, psychophysiology, eye tracking, surveys and behavior observational studies.

The project is part of the Utrecht Strategic theme Institutions in which scholars from the fields of economics, history, public administration, culture, law, sociology, social psychology, ethics, innovation studies, and geography join forces to find answers to the following key questions: Why do societies develop so divergently? And how do institutions contribute to the formation of open and sustainable societies?

The Department of Social and Organizational Psychology’s two research programs (“Work and organizational psychology: Occupational health psychology” and “Social-cognitive and interpersonal determinants of behavioral regulation”) received excellent evaluations in the most recent QANU research review. Moreover, the department of Social and Organizational Psychology has outstanding research facilities within a state-of-the-art newly designed faculty lab environment (autumn 2013), including eye- and limb-movement registration, virtual reality, TMS, EEG and access to MRI. In addition, the department has access to a mobile lab and has well-developed expertise in conducting research in work and organizational settings. We teach in three undergraduate programs (BSc Psychology, BSc minor program Social Neuroscience, and BSc Social Sciences at UCU), two MSc programs (MSc Social Psychology, MSc Work and Organizational Psychology), a two-year research masters (MSc Social and Health Psychology), Kurt Lewin Institute PhD program Social Psychology and Helmholtz PhD program Cognition and Behaviour.

The Social and Organizational Psychology department is part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science of Utrecht University. In addition, the Social and Organizational Psychology department participates in the Utrecht Strategic theme Institutions, and has ongoing research collaborations with the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), the Utrecht School of Law, TNO and Unilever.

Additional information
You can apply by pressing the button below. Please provide a letter of motivation, a CV including course grades, and two references.

For more information please contact Belle Derks (

The application deadline is