Initiative enhances the visibility of highly qualified women in the Netherlands. By including women with talent and ambition in our database, we want to stimulate the rise of women to top positions. The database is open to women with relevant work experience in business or public and semi-public organisations at administrative, management or executive level. is a resource for companies, institutions and executive and non-executive search agencies that are looking for female candidates for the executive board, supervisory board or supervisory committee. The database of course fulfils the legal requirements regarding privacy.

At the end of 2014, women accounted for less than 10 per cent of executive board members of large companies. On supervisory boards, the share of women was 11 per cent. Of all executive boards, 76 per cent still do not have a single woman among the members, while for supervisory boards this proportion is 63 per cent. Companies have until 2023 to achieve a 30 per cent share of women on both boards.

To help accelerate the rise in the number of female executive and supervisory board members, the initiative was launched at the end of 2014 by Jet Bussemaker (Minister of Education, Culture and Science) and Hans de Boer (Chair of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, VNO-NCW). To follow up this initiative, VNO-NCW and D&I Company launched Stichting Topvrouwen [Top Women Foundation] in February 2016.

Stichting Topvrouwen

Stichting Topvrouwen endorses the importance of having a larger share of women at the top levels of business in the Netherlands. The desire to enhance innovative capacity and achieve balanced decision-making and the broadest possible sensitivity to developments in society means that gender diversity in companies belongs at the top of the agenda in the boardroom. Stichting Topvrouwen will involve all parties – companies, executive search agencies, men and women – in the debate about diversity and accelerating diversity. It plays no role in the recruitment and selection process, which is and continues to be the responsibility of employers and search agencies, which may obtain help from the foundation in filling vacancies.

  • "My aim will have been achieved as soon as Stichting Topvrouwen has made itself superfluous. Companies will then have enough women on their longlists as soon as there’s a vacancy."
  • 'It's great that we can do our bit to help change the mindset in the Netherlands, that together we demonstrate that women in the boardrooms of the Netherlands bring much of value with them.'