THE PANDEMIC’S IMPACT ON WOMEN IN STEMM
As the pandemic drags on, COVID-19 has magnified systemic gender inequalities as women have been more adversely affected in all kinds of ways.
Early in the pandemic, the Australian Academy of Science predicted that women in STEMM would be disproportionately affected if workplaces did not closely monitor the gender impact of their decisions. One year on, these fears have been realised.
In Australia and many other countries, the majority of women in STEMM hold junior, temporary or casual positions, placing their careers at greatest risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. These short-term contract and casual positions are often the first to go in pandemic-induced cuts to research and teaching jobs.
There has been a clear decline in women’s publications since the crisis began.
Women and single-parent scientists are spending disproportionately extra time on home-schooling, housework, or eldercare, leading to less time for research and producing journal articles which are a key career metric for career advancement.
Despite this, Covid-19 has put the importance of STEMM front and centre in everyone’s lives, and there is hope that the disrupting force of the pandemic can create an opportunity to influence workplaces, systems, cultures and structures to become more inclusive and diverse. This is key to prevent the loss of any more of the hard-earned gains we have made.