The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of life for people all over the globe. The virus that broke out nearly 6 months ago in China has changed the way that people work, study, interact, and travel. Moreover, the gendered impact of the virus has also been discussed widely. Many people have talk about the massive burden that has been put on the shoulders of many women, who now have to take care of their families without the breaks of reliefs that they would usually get. This is especially true for working mothers and single mothers.
However, a less-discussed impact is when the massive burden befalling working mothers coincides with the gender dynamic in the house. Women’s jobs are often considered less-important and more flexible as compared to men. Even in a family with heterosexual parents who are both working, the father’s job is often given more importance. Moreover, the mother is expected to balance her work and taking care of the family, whereas the father is not.
However, this dynamic is abnormally affected women in one specific field.
Academia is a field that requires articles and researches for someone to progress in their subject. Both articles and researches require individuals to be in a certain headspace. Moreover, it requires the ability to immerse oneself in them for a long period of time. However, having to take care of families 24×7 has taken this ability away from women.
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HOW ARE WOMEN IN ACADEMIA BEING AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS-RELATED LOCKDOWNS?
The deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Dr. Elizabeth Hannon revealed in a tweet that she had received a “Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month.”
Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month. Never seen anything like it.
— Elizabeth Hannon (@El_Dritch) April 18, 2020
Moreover, David Samuels, the co-editor of Comparative Political Studies journal revealed that submissions from men were up almost 50% in April.
This goes to show the sacrifices that women are having to make because of other responsibilities taking priority over their careers.
“Research has fallen by the wayside,” said Dr Jenny Hallam, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Derby.
She added –
“It’s important and I want to do it, but it’s not as urgent as supporting my students. My students and my children have to be my priority.”
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Dr. Anneli Jefferson, a lecturer in philosophy at Cardiff University, said –
“Many female academics will have partners with a more structured job with online meetings that are non-negotiable. And it must be even harder for single mothers because they are doing all this on their own.”
We need to make sure that we accommodate people who have to compromise their careers to take care of their families during this unprecedented crisis.
Prof James Wilsdon, director of the new Research on Research Institute, said –
“We have to be very cautious that we are not privileging those who are able to use the coronavirus situation as time to race ahead of their peers, who are held back not by talent or aspiration but by the need to do homeschooling and put three meals a day on the table.”