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Gendered COVID-19 Faculty Experiences

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The Stanford Faculty Women's Forum Steering Committee is particularly concerned about issues faculty have faced and continue to face throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the resulting changed circumstances for academic work and lives differentially impact individuals based on gender.

"We are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat… The scientific workforce has moved en masse into the home, where male faculty are four times more likely to have a partner engaged in full domestic care than their female colleagues."

– Monitoring women's scholarly production during the COVID-19 pandemic, by Philippe Vincent-Lamarre, Cassidy R. Sugimoto and Vincent Larivière

2020 Stanford Faculty Survey

Tenure clock delays, caregiving responsibilities, online teaching, and challenges for wellness all have been known to impact gender disparities, particularly adversely for women. On June 11, 2020, the Faculty Women's Forum's hosted an online forum for faculty to come together for discussion of these topics amidst their own experiences.

The Steering Committee later queried more than 1,500 Stanford faculty members, with nearly 600 responses. On December 10, 2020, the FWF held a second online forum for interested faculty to hear about and discuss preliminary findings. View the presentation slides for the FWF COVID-19 survey results

Survey reveals COVID-19's significant stress on faculty Stanford Report, February 26, 2021

More Support for COVID-19–Affected Professors Inside Higher Ed, January 27, 2022

2022 Stanford Faculty Survey

In May 2022, the Steering Committee again queried more than 1,500 Stanford faculty members about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected research, teaching, mentoring, and service; how it has shaped non-work obligations, such as caring for children, older relatives, and faculty themselves; what programs have helped; and what additional support could be beneficial. 

Academic Resources

Forget Cleaning the House and Doing the Service, Keep your Sanity: One Scientist's and Mother's Story of Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic, Schuh, S.M. (2021), in The ADVANCE Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.2.3.15

Recovering What was Stolen by Embracing the Process of Rebuilding, Lee, E.A. (2021), in The ADVANCE Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.2.3.14

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the productivity of academics who mother, Kasymova, S., Place, J.M.S., Billings, D.L. and Aldape, J.D. (2021), in Gender, Work & Organization, Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1111/gwao.12699

Academic Caregivers on Organizational and Community Resilience in Academia (F**k Individual Resilience), by Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Emily T Cripe, Brooke Foucault Welles, Shannon C McGregor, Katy E Pearce, Nikki Usher, Jessica Vitak, Communication, Culture and Critique, 2021; tcab027, DOI: 10.1093/ccc/tcab027

"I Have No Time for Anything:" Differences in Faculty Research Productivity during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Carpenter, M.A., Cotter, D.A., Berheide, C. (2021), in The ADVANCE Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.2.3.3

The Differential Effects of Pandemic Parenting, Windsor, L., Crawford, K.F. (2021), in The ADVANCE Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.2.3.4

Caregiving, Disability, and Gender in Academia in the Time of COVID-19, Schneider, M.C., Graham, L., Hornstein, A.S., LaRiviere, K.J., Muldoon, K.M., Shepherd, S.L., Wagner, R. (2021), in The ADVANCE Journal, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5399/osu/ADVJRNL.2.3.5

Opinion: In the wake of COVID-19, academia needs new solutions to ensure gender equity Jessica L. Malisch et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jul 2020, 117 (27) 15378-15381; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2010636117

Challenges for the female academic during the COVID-19 pandemic – The Lancet, June 18, 2020

Tenure and promotion after the pandemic – Science, June 5, 2020

Preventing a Secondary Epidemic of Lost Early Career Scientists: Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Women with Children, by Cardel MI, Dean N, Montoya-Williams D. [published online ahead of print, 2020 July 15]. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020;10.1513/AnnalsATS.202006-589IP. doi:10.1513/AnnalsATS.202006-589IP

Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists – COVID-19 has not affected all scientists equally. A survey of principal investigators indicates that female scientists, those in the 'bench sciences' and, especially, scientists with young children experienced a substantial decline in time devoted to research. This could have important short- and longer-term effects on their careers, which institution leaders and funders need to address carefully. Myers, K.R., Tham, W.Y., Yin, Y. et al. Nat Hum Behav (2020)

Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Manuscript Submissions by Women, by Kibbe MR. JAMA Surg. Published online August 4, 2020. DOI:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.3917

Letters: Impact of COVID-19 on academic mothers – Science, May 15, 2020

Meta-Research: COVID-19 medical papers have fewer women first authors than expected, by Andersen JP, Nielsen MW, Simone NL, Lewiss RE, Jagsi R. Elife. 2020;9:e58807. Published 2020 June 15. DOI:10.7554/eLife.58807

How Support of Early Career Researchers Can Reset Science in the Post-COVID19 World, by Erin M. Gibson, et al. Cell, June 25, 2020

What Explains Differences in Finance Research Productivity During the Pandemic? Barber et al, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working paper 28493, DOI: 10.3386/w28493, February 2021

Supporting women in academia during and after a global pandemic, Reese et al, Science Advances February 24 2021, Vol. 7, no. 9, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg9310

Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2021. DOI: 10.17226/26061

The Gendered Impacts of COVID-19: Lessons and Reflections, editorial by Irma Mooi-Reci, Barbara J. Risman, Gender & Society, March 5, 2021. DOI: 10.1177/08912432211001305

Identifying Barriers to Career Progression for Women in Science: Is COVID-19 Creating New Challenges? Summarizes discussions at a Gender Equity Workshop within the Molecular Approaches to Malaria Conference in February 2020. Barriers to career progression in science for women and minority groups, along with suggestions to overcome ongoing roadblocks, are discussed. PMID:32819829 | DOI: 10.1016/j.pt.2020.07.016

Popular Treatments of Related Issues

Has the 'great resignation' hit academia? by Virginia Gewin, Nature, May 31, 2022.

Utah Women & Leadership Project Research and Policy Briefs include a series of reports on the impact of COVID-19 on women and work.

The Disproportionate Impact of the Pandemic on Women and Caregivers in Academia, by Makala Skinner, Nicole Betancourt, and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg. Ithaka S+R. Last Modified March 31, 2021. DOI: 10.18665/sr.315147

Supporting faculty during & after COVID-19 – Don't let go of equity, a report by Leslie D. Gonzalez and Kimberly A. Griffin, ASPIRE Alliance, 2020.

Coronavirus is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in U.S., new poll finds, by Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post, April 2, 2020

STEM Equity and Inclusion (Un)Interrupted? – The pandemic will negatively impact the careers of women in STEM, particularly those of color, and failure to respond could jeopardize years of progress toward faculty equity, argue Stephanie A. Goodwin and Beth Mitchneck, in InsideHigherEd, May 15, 2020

No Room of One's Own: Early journal submission data suggest COVID-19 is tanking women's research productivity by Colleen Flaherty, InsideHigherEd, April 21, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is creating a 'double double shift' for women. Employers must help, by Sheryl Sandberg and Rachel Thomas, Fortune, May 7, 2020

Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree: A survey suggests that pandemic-era domestic work isn't being divided more equitably than before the lockdown by Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times, May 8, 2020

Women's research plummets during lockdown – but articles from men increase Many female academics say juggling their career with coronavirus childcare is overwhelming, writes Anna Fazackerley in The Guardian, May 12, 2020

Women in science are battling both Covid-19 and the patriarchy – The pandemic has worsened longstanding sexist and racist inequalities in science, pushing many of us to say 'I'm done,' write 35 female scientists, in The Times Higher Education, May 15, 2020

ARC Network Town Hall: Ensuring Equity in Institutional COVID-19 Responses a recording of a webinar concerning the need to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into higher education administrators' decision-making, organized by the ARC Network, sponsored by the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) through an ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation. June 4, 2020

The Life of a Black Academic: Tired and Terrorized What has not been acknowledged is the world of terror enveloping many black academics that has changed feeling tired to absolute exhaustion, by Henrika McCoy, InsideHigherEd, June 12, 2020

Gender and the Pandemic, a collection of essays by affiliates of Stanford's Clayman Institute on Gender Research 

"New PI COVID19 memo" suggestions from "junior faculty at a university" to help catalyze the discussion of potential solutions to the challenges currently faced and foreseen for early-career faculty members to the changed circumstances of their work resulting from the pandemic

Coronavirus Coverage and the Silencing of Female Expertise by Teresa Carr, Undark, 06.22.2020, and also here in The Wire, July 9, 2020

Opinion: The Isolated Scientist Among the disruptions and pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are dealing with a sudden halt in in-person interactions, by Steven Wiley, TheScientist, May 19, 2020

In the COVID-19 economy, you can have a kid or a job. You can't have both by Deb Perelman, The New York Times, July 2, 2020

Will COVID-19 push women out of the labor force? Barbara Risman, Psychology Today, July 2, 2020

Coronavirus is Killing the Working Mother It was hard enough to "have it all" before – but the pandemic could force out a generation of moms out of the workforce, by Ej Dickson, RollingStone, July 3, 2020

This Isn't Sustainable for Working Parents The pandemic has already taken a toll on the careers of those with young children – particularly mothers, by Joe Pinsker, Atlantic Monthly, July 9, 2020

Yes, balancing work and parenting is impossible. Here's the data by Suzanne M. Edwards and Larry Snyder, The Washington Post, July 10, 2020

'They Go to Mommy First' How the pandemic is disproportionately disrupting mothers' careers, by Jessica Grose, The New York Times, July 15, 2020

Steps universities and others could take a Twitter thread by Michelle Cardel, July 15, 2020

Pandemic childcare is way more stressful for moms than dads Fathers take on more childcare during work-at-home, but moms simultaneously work and parent more often, by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience, August 10, 2020

COVID's Surprising Toll on Careers of Women Scientists Women scientists and those with young children are paying a steep career price in the pandemic, according to new research, an article by Rebecca Layne, Harvard Business Review, August 10, 2020

Childcare for Faculty: The Babar in the Room, a blog post by Kiernan Mathews, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Collaborative on Careers in Higher Education, August 10, 2020

'Babar in the Room' Faculty parents are once again being asked to perform a miracle: Get their students and their own kids through the semester in one piece. Does it have to be this way? by Colleen Flaherty, InsideHigherEd, August 11, 2020

Women in Science May Suffer Lasting Career Damage from COVID-19 They bear a greater proportion of childcare and household responsibilities, making it much harder for them to publish their work and get ahead, by Jillian Kramer, Scientific American, August 12, 2020

Documenting Pandemic Impacts: Best Practices UMass ADVANCE COVID-19 Tool, August 17, 2020

Something's Got to Give Women's journal submission rates fell as their caring responsibilities jumped due to COVID-19. Without meaningful interventions, the trend is likely to continue, by Colleen Flaherty, Inside HigherEd, August 20, 2020

Covid-19 Is Intensifying The Disparities Between Men And Women In Science, by Nicole Fisher, Forbes, August 21, 2020

Measures to Support Faculty During COVID-19 The pandemic has amplified pre-existing inequities among faculty members, creating distinct challenges for differently situated ones, write Ethel L. Mickey, Dessie Clark and Joya Misra, Inside HigherEd, September 4, 2020

Burning Out Professors say faculty burnout is always a real threat, but especially now, and that institutions should act before it's too late, by Colleen Flaherty, Inside HigherEd, September 14, 2020 

Pandemic Imperils Promotion for Women in Academia Even as faculty members are given more time to meet a deadline for tenure, many say they are getting less work done because of child care needs, by Noam Schieber, The New York Times, September 29, 2020 

Factoring in the Pandemic Experience to Protect Gender Equity, Memorializing the Summer of 2020, a document distributed by the Northwestern [University] Organization of Faculty Women

Organization of Women Faculty COVID Response Faculty Survey, distributed July 20-August 7, 2020 by the Northwestern [University] Organization of Faculty Women 

Call for Immediate Action, by the Northwestern [University] Organization of Faculty Women, September 2020

European Women in Mathematics Open Letter on the COVID-19 Pandemic (EWM is an international association of women working in the field of mathematics in Europe), published online September 22, 2020

The Virus Moved Female Faculty to the Brink. Will Universities Help? The pandemic is a new setback for women in academia who already faced obstacles on the path to advancing their research and careers, by Jillian Kramer, The New York Times, October 6, 2020

Women Are Falling Behind Large-scale study backs up other research showing relative declines in women's research productivity during COVID-19, by Colleen Flaherty, Inside HigherEd, October 20, 2020

Exit Interview Study of Tenured/Track-Track Faculty: Exploring Factors Related Job Satisfaction and Departure, ADVANCE Program, University of Michigan, October 2020

Faculty equity and COVID-19: The problem, the evidence, and recommendations, ADVANCE Program, University of Michigan, October 2020

Stuck-At-Home Moms: The Pandemic's Devastating Toll On Women by Pallavi Gogoi, National Public Radio (NPR), October 28, 2020

Covid-19 Has Robbed Faculty Parents of Time for Research. Especially Mothers. Women with children have lost, on average, about an hour of research time per day on top of what childless scholars have lost, by Emma Pettit, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 25, 2021

Keeping COVID-19 From Sidelining Equity Without engaged interventions, higher education will most likely become less diverse and inclusive, given the pressure the pandemic is placing on women and faculty of color, by Joya Misra, Dessie Clark and Ethel L. Mickey, Inside HigherEd, February 10, 2021

Emerging Evidence Indicates COVID-19 Pandemic Has Negatively Impacted Women in Academic STEMM Fields, Endangering Progress Made in Recent Years, The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine news release, March 9, 2021

Many Female Academics Face Big Challenges – and Covid-19 Raises the Stakes, Report Says, by Lindsay Ellis, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2021 

'We are at the breaking point': Survey shows faculty, especially women, facing COVID-related stress by Anna Milstein, The Stanford Daily, March 17, 2021

Where Caregiving and Gender Intersect It's not just about gender or caregiving, it's both: new analyses suggest colleges need COVID-19 faculty relief policies that target female caregivers in particular, by Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021

Female professors have less time to research in the pandemic. It could force them out of academia, experts say, by Caroline Kitchener, The Lily, April 5, 2021

Could the pandemic Prompt an 'Epidemic of Loss' of Women in the Sciences? by Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times, April 13, 2021

Mothers are being left behind in the economic recovery from COVID-19 by Lauren Bauer, Brookings, May 6, 2021

The Quiet Crisis of Parents on the Tenure Track by Maggie Doherty, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 20, 2021