Study Finds the Pandemic Placed Considerable Stress on Mothers Who Worked in Academia

A new study by women scholars at Central Washington University, Adler University in Chicago, Eastern Kentucky University, and Florida International University, provides further evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the scholarly activities of women academics who also are mothers.

Researchers interviewed a large group of women scholars who have children. Analysis of the data revealed that participants’ roles as parents and scholarly women were inextricably intertwined, each serving as foundational components of their identities, a reality highlighted by the exacerbating stressors associated with COVID-19. Altered childcare demands, conflicting roles, and relational changes emerged as consequences of the ongoing pandemic

Participants in the study noted that they had to assume additional responsibilities due to the ongoing pandemic. Feeling pulled between their often-conflicting personal and professional identities, academic mothers cited a lack of supportive professional structures, which became more evident during COVID-19, as a barrier to their pursuit of scholarship.

The authors concluded that “although there have been notable efforts to improve support for women across academia, the results of the present study emphasized that persistent systemic inequities remain. This study further highlights that these gaps grew exponentially for women in academia, especially mothers, due to the impact of the pandemic on home and family.”

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