The pandemic and the female academic

From Nature: Academic work — in which career advancement is based on the number and quality of a person’s scientific publications, and their ability to obtain funding for research projects — is basically incompatible with tending to children. I expect that data on publication records over the next couple of years will show that parents in academia were disadvantaged relative to non-parents in 2020….

The beginning of an academic career is marked by a prolonged period of precariousness, one which coincides with women’s reproductive period. The term maternal wall, referring to the discrimination and limitations faced by working mothers, has been in use for well over a decade. Policies such as guaranteed work leave and accommodations to care for family members can be particularly important for women. One immediate idea is to count this period of lockdown as care leave for those tending to any dependent family member, and this can be considered when they are later evaluated, for example, in an open competition for career advancement. This might be extremely helpful for families that are even more disadvantaged during this time — particularly those with single parents, who are more likely to be women.

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