Corona, Science and Gender

The Covid-19 virus has led to many changes in almost all areas of life. Some effects have quickly proven to be gender-specific: the division of care work or the extent of the economic challenges, as well as the question who works in system-relevant jobs or whom protective clothing is made for.

The Corona crisis has also changed the work of the Gender Equality and Diversity unit. Home office, canceled events, events moved to digital formats or the fall have demanded a lot of flexibility.

Of course, Corona hasn't just affected our unit, but also the entirety of academia in general. Here as in the rest of society, it has been women rather than men who mostly dealt with the additional strain on families that has arisen in the crisis. First analyses (here and here) have already shown that the number of scientific papers submitted for publication has decreased for female authors and increased for male authors. It is important to make sure that the additional strain from the crisis doesn't turn into a long-lasting disadvantage for female academics.

Reading material:

  • Corona and Family Lives (study at the Institute for Sociology, University of Vienna)
  • Coronavirus Pandemic: Impact on Gender Equality (fact sheet of the European Commission)
  • The current COVID-19 outbreak and gendered impacts on researchers and teachers (position paper of the Council of the European Union)
    "It is therefore crucial that research performing organisations, research funding organisations and other stakeholders continue to address the current situation and find a gender equitable way of doing so. Universities as employers, as well as funding organisations, must provide additional financial contributions in an uncomplicated and flexible manner (e.g. extension of research projects or fixed-term employment contracts) in order to compensate for the loss of time caused by additional unpaid care and schooling work."
  • The impact of sex and gender in the COVID-19 pandemic
    "In the case of COVID-19, current worldwide statistics show more men than women dying of acute infection, while women are projected to suffer more than men from the health, economic and social consequences of the pandemic in the long term."
  • COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak
    "Given their front-line interaction with communities, it is concerning that women have not been fully incorporated into global health security surveillance, detection, and prevention mechanisms. Women's socially prescribed care roles typically place them in a prime position to identify trends at the local level that might signal the start of an outbreak and thus improve global health security."
  • How will the COVID-19 crisis affect existing gender divides in Europe?
    "An important crosscutting theme in gender-equality that affects all the aspects discussed in this report is the unequal representation of males and females in decision-making processes. The lack of gender balance and gender lens in global COVID-19 decision-making drives away from making gender equality a reality. The COVID-19 crisis should be seen as an opportunity to challenge the social dynamics in a way that benefits both women and men."
  • The Missing Perspectives of Women in Covid-19 News
    "The report uncovers a substantial bias towards men’s perspectives in both newsgathering and news coverage of the pandemic, spanning across all regions. This bias operates against a backdrop of women’s political underrepresentation in the COVID-19 response in these countries, as well as the unique socioeconomic, health and psychological challenges that women face globally."