More Evidence of the Adverse Effects of the Pandemic on Women’s Scholarly Activity

A new study by a large group of researchers from European universities provides further evidence that women academics experienced a great negative impact on their scholarly activity than was the case for their male peers.

The authors note that “from the onset of the pandemic, governments in many countries enforced severe lockdown measures, requiring most academics to work from home. While academics are used to working at a distance and with flexible times, it is plausible that during the pandemic competing demands from homeschooling, family obligations and other caring duties have affected the productivity of women and men differently.”

In an examination of article submissions to more than 2,300 journals published by Elsevier, the authors found that while the number of manuscripts submitted to journals generally increased during the first wave of the pandemic compared to similar months in the two prior years, the number of manuscripts submitted by men was higher than those submitted by women. The authors report “that more junior cohorts of women academics were penalized the most. This could be possibly explained by a major shift in family schedules and routines caused by the pandemic due to interference of homeschooling and more intense family duties, which could have seen these cohorts of women on the front line. Note that these cohorts would probably include women without permanent academic positions, competing for tenure, promotion, and grants.”

The full study, “Gender Gap in Journal Submissions and Peer Review During the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A Study on 2329 Elsevier Journals,” was published on PLOS One. It is available here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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