Femke E. Bakker, Ph.D.

Behavioral scientist | Inspirational speaker | Selfgentleness & meditation teacher | Writer

Who is Femke?

Femke E. Bakker, Ph.D. is an award-winning behavioral scientist, inspirational speaker, writer, and selfgentleness teacher with 20K students and 600K following meditators worldwide. Femke is a true polymath. With a background in the performing arts, creative arts, social science research and meditation teaching, Femke knows how to blend expertise, knowledge and life experience into a warm and loving teaching style.

Inspirational speaker

In 2021, Femke has coined the concept of Selfgentleness: Radically accepting yourself as the most important person to consistently deserve your own gentleness. Femke has developed many tools and practices to support people on their selfgentleness journey. ​Next to offering these tools to private persons in The Selfgentleness FAN Club, Femke also speaks for professional audiences such as entrepreneurs, civil servants, mayors, lobbyists, policy makers, and politicians. As a professional trained actor, Femke is an accomplished speaker. More importantly, Femke has the guts to speak authentically about her own path towards the mastery of Selfgentleness. In a 2023 TEDx talk, Femke shared how her life experiences inspired her to develop Selfgentleness as a key concept to transform her perspective on life and work. A talk or workshop led by Femke E. Bakker feels therefore always as an authentic and recognizable experience.


Radically accepting yourself as the most important person to consistently deserve your own gentleness

Femke E. Bakker, Ph.D.

Femke’s Background


Femke is a certified meditation teacher since 2018, when she finalized her meditation teacher training at the Veda Centre. She has been teaching meditation in an international setting. An ever expanding library of her work, as well as LIVE teachings can be found on Femke’s platform called The Selfgentleness Club and on the #1 Wellness & Meditation app in the world: Insight Timer.

Performing Arts

Femke graduated from theatre school in 1995 and worked for more than two decades as a professional actor in theatre and for television. At the moment she is not active as an actor, however, from time to time she likes to say yes when a part is too good to say no.

Social Science

Femke received her Ph.D. in political science in 2018. As a political psychologist at Leiden University, Femke teaches and studies (political) leadership, decision making, and political behavior from a psychological perspective. Over the years, Femke has been most interested in how diversity of individuals can explain political outcomes. 

Her research has received several awards, including the highly prestigious ECPR Jean Blondel Prize. In 2019, she received the PEACE-Grant from the esteemed Mind and Life Institute to study the impact of meditation on political behavior. 


Femke publishes about her research in several scientific journals and edited volumes. In April 2024 her monograph Hawks and Doves will be launched at ECPR Press.

Later this year a collection of Femke’s Love Poems is planned for publication, next to Femke’s upcoming book about Selfgentleness, accompanied by a workbook. You can sign up here to be notified when the collection of poems will be available. For the Selfgentleness Help books, you can sign up here.

In the past, Femke has been working as a script writer for several television series, and as a writer for women and sailing magazines.

Femke with Moniek van Male in TV-series DOEI (2001)

Femke acting in TV-series DOEI (2001) with Moniek van Male

Find out how you can learn from Femke





Testimonialsa selection

TEDx Talk by Femke E. Bakker, Ph.D. 22 April 2023
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