Achieving gender equity for women in academia is an ongoing component of CSW’s mission. The research listed here provides some recent research on the issues. Also provided here are reports related to UCLA initiatives to promote gender equity in campus.
If you have a question or concern about gender equity at UCLA, contact the office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:
MY 79 CENTS: THE PRODUCTIVITY GAP BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE SENIOR FACULTY AT UCLA
Olga T. Yokoyama
This analysis of the publication records of 10 senior professors uncovers one parameter that reveals a striking gender inequity between male and female senior faculty at UCLA. It shows that the higher women professors rise in their steps, the greater their scholarly productivity. Their male colleagues, by contrast, continue to advance in step virtually without increasing their productivity. The issue is not about equal pay at a given step, but about the amount of work a woman must put in to reach that step, compared to her male counterpart.
FACULTY SALARY INEQUITY, 1992‒2010
Rebecca Jean Emigh, Kate Norberg, and Vilma Ortiz
March 22, 2016
This report presents the results of an analysis of ladder faculty salary equity at UCLA from 1992‒1993 to 2009‒2010 using data drawn from the Longitudinal Electronic Academic Database (LEAD) and provided by the UCLA Office of Analysis and Information Management. Unfortunately, as we understand it, the decision was made by the UCLA administration not to continue to update the LEAD database after that date, so we have no way of updating these analyses. We focus on salary inequities in departments because academic evaluations that lead to salary decisions typically originate within them. We assesses two types of salary inequity: 1) systematic salary inequity, when faculty of a particular gender and/or ethnic origin have salaries that are on average lower than the salaries of their white male colleagues and 2) individual salary inequity, when some faculty of a particular gender and/or ethnic origin category have salaries that are lower than their white male colleagues.
UCLA DIVERSITY STATISTICS, REGULAR RANK FACULTY, 2014
UCLA Office of Diversity and Faculty Development
UCLA Faculty Diversity Statistics Monograph was published annually and provided a snapshot of the regular rank faculty with respect to gender, race, and ethnicity in the schools, divisions, and departments on the UCLA campus. The David Geffen School of Medicine also publishes a separate monograph of their faculty.
UCLA GENDER EQUITY SUMMIT REPORT
UCLA Office of Faculty Diversity
May 17, 2004
During the weeks of April 19 and May 3, individual faculty from 20 different departments and professional schools met in workshops to exchange ideas about addressing gender equity in recruitment, promotion and leadership. Over 100 ideas were floated, many of which appear in the appendices to this report. A set of these were selected (largely by consensus) as having the potential to achieve concrete results in either the short or long term. In choosing which strategies to develop for presentation at the Summit, participants took into consideration prior work done by the Gender Equity Task Force and the Gender Equity Committees, the recent addition of an Office of Faculty Diversity, and current resource constraints.
This report reflects the deliberations of the two separate workshop groups. These workshops were made possible through the efforts of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Diversity Rosina Becerra, the Gender Equity Summit Committee (listed below), workshop facilitator Linda Garnets and Center for the Study of Women Manager Regina Lark. Any inconsistencies or errors in distilling and reporting are, however, the sole responsibility of the author.
PROMOTING FACULTY DIVERSITY AT UCLA
Promoting Faculty Diversity at UCLA
Chancellor’s Advisory Group on Diversity
In setting out a “Strategy for a Great University” (1998), Chancellor Albert Carnesale identified diversity as one of the areas demanding our immediate and long-term attention. Clearly, faculty diversity is essential to achieving our goals in teaching, research, and service and meeting our responsibilities as a public land grant university located in the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. Clearly, too, recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty requires strong academic leadership and broad participation by faculty colleagues. In recent years we have taken a series of actions that, together, provide the framework for a campuswide initiative promoting faculty diversity.
REPORT ON UCLA’S EFFORTS IN AID OF DIVERSITY IN FACULTY HIRING AND ACHIEVING GENDER AND MINORITY EQUITY
Office of the Chancellor
May 1, 2001
This is a report prepared in response to the request contained in President Atkinson’s letter of February 8, 2001, asking for a description of UCLA’s efforts to promote diversity in faculty hiring and to achieve gender and minority equity on this campus. The many different activities that we have undertaken in this sphere are detailed below. Some of the items in this report are similar to the recommendations contained in Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood’s recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee that was cited in President Atkinson’s letter.
GENDER EQUITY ISSUES AFFECTING SENATE FACULTY AT UCLA
Gender Equity Committee
October 10, 2000
In January 2000, Vice Chancellor Norman Abrams appointed a committee to examine gender equity issues for Academic Senate Faculty at UCLA. We were asked to provide a preliminary report by June 1, 2000. This report represents the response to our charge. We present some preliminary conclusions based on the available data, suggest directions for future research, and propose that a restructured committee carry forward the investigations that our committee has initiated.
DANCING BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS: FEMALE PROFESSORS EXPERIENCE MORE WORK DEMANDS AND SPECIAL FAVOR REQUESTS, PARTICULARLY FROM ACADEMICALLY ENTITLED STUDENTS
Amani El-Alayli, Ashley A. Hansen-Brown, Michelle Ceynar
Sex Roles 2018, Vol. 79(3-4) 136-150.
Although the number of U.S. female professors has risen steadily in recent years, female professors are still subject to different student expectations and treatment. Students continue to perceive and expect female professors to be more nurturing than male professors are. We examined whether students may consequently request more special favors from female professors. In a survey of professors (n = 88) across the United States, Study 1 found that female (versus male) professors reported getting more requests for standard work demands, special favors, and friendship behaviors, with the latter two mediating the professor gender effect on professors’ self-reported emotional labor. Study 2 utilized an experimental design using a fictitious female or male professor, with college student participants (n = 121) responding to a scenario in which a special favor request might be made of the professor. The results indicated that academically entitled students (i.e., those who feel deserving of success in college regardless of effort/performance) had stronger expectations that a female (versus male) professor would grant their special favor requests. Those expectations consequently increased students’ likelihood of making the requests and of exhibiting negative emotional and behavioral reactions to having those requests denied. This work highlights the extra burdens felt by female professors. We discuss possible moderators of these effects as well as the importance of developing strategies for preventing them.
FEMALE MANAGERS AND GENDER DISPARITIES: THE CASE OF ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT CHAIRS
Working Paper by Andrew Langan
Appointing female managers is a common proposal to improve women’s representation and outcomes in the workplace, but it is unclear how well such policies accomplish these goals. Using newly-collected panel data on academic departments, the author exploits variation in the timing of transitions between department chairs of different genders with a difference-in-differences research design. For faculty, they find female department chairs reduce gender gaps in publications and tenure for assistant professors and shrink the gender pay gap. Replacing a male chair with a female chair increases the number of female students among incoming graduate cohorts by ten percent with no evidence of a change in ability correlates for the average student.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN: CLIMATE, CULTURE, AND CONSEQUENCES IN ACADEMIC SCIENCES, ENGINEERING, AND MEDICINE
National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Over the last several years, revelations of sexual harassment experienced by women in workplace and in academic settings have raised urgent questions about the specific impact of this discriminatory behavior on women and the extent to which it is limiting their careers. Sexual Harassment of Women explores the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. This report reviews the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine experience sexual harassment and examines the existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers. It also identifies and analyzes the policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in academia.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN RECOGNITION FOR GROUP WORK
December 3, 2015
This paper explores whether bias arising from group work helps explain the gender promotion gap. Using data from economists’ CVs, I test whether coauthored publications matter differently for tenure by gender. While solo-authored papers send a clear signal about one’s ability, coauthored papers do not provide speciﬁc information about each contributor’s skills. I ﬁnd that women incur a penalty when they coauthor that men do not experience. This is most pronounced for women coauthoring with men and less pronounced the more women there are on a paper. A model shows that the bias documented here departs from traditional discrimination models.
GENDER, JOB AUTHORITY, AND DEPRESSION
Tetyana Pudrovska and Amelia Karraker
Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2014, Vol. 55(4) 424 –441, DOI: 10.1177/0022146514555223
Using the 1957–2004 data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we explore the effect of job authority in 1993 (at age 54) on the change in depressive symptoms between 1993 and 2004 (age 65) among white men and women. Within-gender comparisons indicate that women with job authority (defined as control over others’ work) exhibit more depressive symptoms than women without job authority, whereas men in authority positions are overall less depressed than men without job authority. Between-gender comparisons reveal that although women have higher depression than men, women’s disadvantage in depression is significantly greater among individuals with job authority than without job authority. We argue that macro- and meso-processes of gender stratification create a workplace in which exercising job authority exposes women to interpersonal stressors that undermine health benefits of job authority. Our study highlights how the cultural meanings of masculinities and femininities attenuate or amplify health-promoting resources of socioeconomic advantage.
PLAYING SOCCER ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD: THE PERSISTENCE OF GENDER INEQUITIES FOR WOMEN FACULTY
Christine M. Cress and Jeni Hart
EQUITY & EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION, 42(4), 473–488, 2009
Sports metaphor is employed as an epistemic tool for describing psychological, sociocultural, and organizational factors that contribute to enduring gender bias, inequalities, and discrimination faced by women faculty at colleges and universities. Quantitative and qualitative data from two comprehensive institutional campus climate studies show that women and men faculty experience their work lives differently. Based upon our analyses, we argue for restructuring the embedded normative values and processes that inform the academic playbook.
DEMOGRAPHIC INERTIA REVISITED: AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL TO ACHIEVE EQUITABLE GENDER REPRESENTATION AMONG FACULTY IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Robyn Marschke, Sandra Laursen, Joyce McCarl Nielsen and Patricia Rankin
The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 78, No. 1 (Jan. – Feb., 2007), pp. 1-26
Progress toward equitable gender representation among faculty in higher education has been “glacial” since the early 1970s (Glazer-Raymo, 1999; Lomperis, 1990; Trower & Chait, 2002). Women, who now make up a majority of undergraduate degree earners and approximately 46% of Ph.D. earners nationwide (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2003), rarely make up more than 30% of faculty at Research Extensive universities. Although the total number of tenure-track women faculty in higher education has increased steadily for the past 35 years, this increase and women’s advancement through faculty ranks are described as excruciatingly slow (Valian, 1999). (Contains 7 tables, 2 figures, and 3 endnotes.)
WOMEN, WORK, AND THE ACADEMY: STRATEGIES FOR RESPONDING TO ‘POST-CIVIL RIGHTS ERA’ GENDER DISCRIMINATION
Alison Wylie, Janet R. Jakobsen, and Gisela Fosado
©2007 The Barnard Center for Research on Women
This report is based on the Virginia C. Gildersleeve Conference at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, with keynote speakers Nancy Hopkins, Claude Steele, and Virginia Valian. The participants in this conference have all made significant contributions to our understanding of the situation women currently face in academia, highlighting the effects of a diffuse set of barriers to women’s participation: small-scale, often unintended differences in recognition, support and response that can generate large-scale differences in outcomes for women. This conference was organized so as to take stock of the extant research and interventions and to chart a course forward.
DOES GENDER MATTER?
Ben A. Barres
Nature, Vol. 442 (13 July 2006), pp.133-136
This commentary responds to claims by high-profile scientific researchers that women are inherently unsuited to careers in math and science. The author draws on recent studies to refute these claims.
No Room of One’s Own
By Colleen Flaherty
It was easy to foresee: within academe, female professors would bear the professional brunt of social distancing during COVID-19, in the form of decreased research productivity.
Now the evidence is starting to emerge. Editors of two journals say that they’re observing unusual, gendered patterns in submissions. In each case, women are losing out.
Editors of a third journal have said that overall submissions by women are up right now, but that solo-authored articles by women are down substantially.
In the most obvious example of the effects of social distancing carving into women’s research time, Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, wrote on Twitter that she’d received “negligible” submissions from women within the last month. “Never seen anything like it,” she added.
David Samuels, co-editor of Comparative Political Studies, in response shared that submissions to his journal are up 25 percent so far in April, compared to last year. That increase was driven entirely by men, however, he said. Women’s submissions stayed flat.
The American Journal of Political Science on Monday published a longer-term analysis of submissions and publications by men and women over the last three years, as part of a larger effort to understand publication patterns for authors from underrepresented groups. Co-editors Kathleen Dolan and Jennifer L. Lawless also examined the last few weeks, in particular, and found that submissions have picked up. To their surprise, 33 percent of submitting authors since March 15 were women, compared to 25 percent of authors over the three years studied. Looking at these recent submissions another way, 41 percent of the 108 papers had at least one female author — slightly more than usual.
This doesn’t mean that COVID-19 “hasn’t taken a toll on female authors, though,” Dolan and Lawless wrote, as women submitted just eight of the 46 solo-authored papers during this time. That’s 17 percent, compared to 22 percent of solo-authored papers in the larger data set.
“As a percentage change, that’s substantial,” the editors said. “Even if women’s overall submission rates are up, they seem to have less time to submit their own work than men do amid the crisis.”
The revelations generated much chatter, including from gender studies scholars and women in all fields who are desperately trying to balance teaching and otherwise working from home with increased caregiving responsibilities. Those responsibilities include all-day minding of children due to school and daycare closures, homeschooling, and the cooking and cleaning associated with having one’s family at home all day, every day. Women are also spending time checking in with friends, relatives and neighbors.
SOS, Different Circumstances
It’s not that men don’t help with all this, or that they’re not also individually overwhelmed by work and family life. But women already juggled more domestic and affective, or emotional, labor with their actual work prior to the pandemic.
Female academics, as a group, also struggled more with work-work balance, as well: numerous studies show they take on more service work than men and are less protective of their research time, to their detriment.
The coronavirus has simply exacerbated these inequities by stripping away what supports women had in place to walk this tightrope, including childcare.
“My productivity is definitely taking a huge hit having both my 2- and 5-year-old at home full-time,” said Vanessa LoBue, associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University at Newark and author of 9 Months In, 9 Months Out: A Scientist’s Tale of Pregnancy and Parenthood. “My husband is working full-time at home, as am I, and what I’m finding is for men, there is more of an expectation that he can be working all the time than there is for me.”
That leaves LoBue with the kids more of the time — and less time for her own work.
“COVID-19 restrictions are just exacerbating gender inequalities that already exist,” she said.
No Protected Time
Anecdotes such as LoBue’s aren’t hard to find. Case in point: a recent Nature op-ed by Alessandra Minello, a social demographer at the University of Florence in Italy with a 2-year-old son and colleagues around the globe who expect her to be able to videoconference at all hours.
“Silence and concentration are pivotal for my thinking and teaching,” she wrote. “This means I have less time for writing scientific articles.”
While she and her colleagues know they’re lucky to be employed and healthy at this time, it still feels “as if I am my own subject” in some work-life balance study.
Minello also expressed concern about when the crisis is over, both parents and nonparents “will participate together in open competition for promotion and positions, parents and nonparents alike.”
Just like academic fathers, nonparents don’t have it easy right now — no one does. But, again, there are well-documented challenges that academic mothers, in particular, face. Those challenges, together, have been dubbed the motherhood penalty. And they’re laid bare right now.
Hannon of the British journal, who is also associate director of the Forum for European Philosophy, said Monday that her sample size is still too small for anything “particularly meaningful” to be gleaned. This could be a “blip,” for example, and submissions numbers could soon normalize as women find ways to cope.
This could also be “an age thing,” Hannon added, in that in fields that have been slow to admit women, such as philosophy, women are more likely than men to have young children. That would skew the gender balance, even where childcare duties are evenly spread within families, she said.
Following the Numbers
In any case, Hannon’s following the numbers. She and her co-editors have also partnered with other journals and agreed to share patterns, across publications, as they reveal themselves.
Her own hypothesis about the early stats includes increased caring duties, including of friends and parents, and increased domestic labor: shopping, cooking, cleaning.
Samuels also said it’s too early to discern anything definitive. March and April brought an increase in submissions from non-U.S. scholars, as well, he said, which have been desk-rejected at a higher rate than U.S. submissions. So there are other things happening, beyond gender. In any case, Samuels guessed that the gender dynamic won’t matter much in the end, in terms of productivity as measured as successful publications — at least in his journal. That’s because it has too few willing reviewers right now.
“The reason we’re seeing less from U.S.-based scholars is pretty clear,” he said via email. “Anyone with kids or family needing care is just not getting any research/writing done, and it’s just a stressful time for everybody.”
In response to discussions about gender imbalances in submissions, some have suggested that journals shut down during COVID-19. That’s perhaps palatable to editors who, like Samuels, are having trouble finding reviewers, and to reviewers who don’t have time to read articles.
Hannon, however, said it’s not clear that a moratorium on submission would help, and said it might even make things worse. Women who are still writing but taking longer to do so would find it impossible to finally submit, while their less burdened male colleagues would have made it in under the wire. “Unburdened” academics could also continue to write and “stockpile” papers to submit later, she added.
“It just kicks the can down the road.”
Taking Care of the ‘Family’
Victor Borden, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, co-wrote a 2017 study finding that women “take care of the academic family” more than men by picking up more service duties. The paper warned that this is problematic for women because service isn’t rewarded in the ways that research is, even when the service is essential.
Of journal submissions and gender during the pandemic, Borden said that men and women both seem to expect women to do more “housekeeping,” based on existing research. From that point of view, “men would be more likely to see this as an opportunity to focus their time and attention on finishing articles, research projects, revising manuscripts, etc., while women faculty would have a tendency to focus on activities related to making sure that family, colleagues, students, etc., are doing OK.”
There is a lot of variation even within groups, Borden cautioned, meaning that one man and one woman plucked at random wouldn’t necessarily behave this way. But, in general, if men aren’t “stepping up” to tend to group and family cohesion, “women step in.”
Joya Misra, professor of sociology and public policy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has also studied the gendered dynamics of academic labor. She said her institution has been flexible with and supportive of faculty members this spring, assuring them that their performance during the disruption will not negatively affect their careers.
Even so, she said, “some faculty don’t believe that this won’t be held against them, due to the culture of their department or college.” Some female colleagues in the sciences and engineering with young children have even doubled down on research, “putting in proposals for studying this particular moment” or writing regular grant proposals because they can’t be in their labs.
Then there are other professors, both with and without caregiving responsibilities, “who feel paralyzed.” Misra said she’d observed that colleagues who are performing more emotional labor with their students tend to be part this latter group. And in general, women experience “higher levels of expectations from others for emotional labor, and even from themselves.”
Setting Boundaries and Making Accommodations
As for advice, Misra said that it’s “completely normal” to want to be as responsive as possible to everyone around you during a crisis.
Yet “taking care of your mental health and family is critical,” she said. And so academics “need to set reasonable schedules,” that entail checking email, say, twice a day, working until 5 p.m. and then shutting off their computers.
Misra said her own chronic health issues forced her to create these kinds of boundaries long before to the pandemic. They’ve been helpful. “But I also know that this is hard for everyone. There is no-one-size-fits-all.”
Kiernan Mathews, executive director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University, said that “anyone familiar with the productivity literature in higher ed wouldn’t be surprised” by the new journal submission figures. Still, the “magnitude of effect suggested by these early reports is what is really, freshly disheartening.”
Mathews said he hoped journal editors will get these data into scholars’ hands as soon as possible — and noted the twin ironies in saying so. Some men might be able to write up these studies faster than women, he said, and the peer-review process for any such papers could take too long to influence relevant tenure and promotion decisions.
Beyond data, Mathews suggested disciplinary societies might play a role in advocating for a leveling of the playing field for women during COVID-19. Referring to backlash against so-called manels, or all-male panels of experts at disciplinary conferences, Mathews also wondered if journals that don’t take demographic balance into account right now might expect to face similar criticism.
“Without national or global leadership reaching across institutions,” he said, “you just have this loosely coupled system of committees, each acting in its parochial self-interest and not in society’s, reviewing faculty primarily for what’s quantifiable and not for what’s equitable, ethical or humane.”
Women’s research plummets during lockdown - but articles from men increase
In April Dr Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, noticed that the number of article submissions she was receiving from women had dropped dramatically. Not so from men.
“Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month,” she posted on Twitter. “Never seen anything like it.” The response was an outpouring of recognition from frustrated female academics, saying they were barely coping with childcare and work during the coronavirus lockdown.
“I was taken aback by the nerve I seem to have hit,” she says. “I have now heard many stories from women of abandoned projects, collaborations they have felt unable to continue with, and so on. It’s extremely worrying, especially so for philosophy, which already has so much work to do in terms of gender equality among its ranks.”
Having articles published in academic journals is key to being promoted at many universities, and is a critical measure of success in the government’s all-important Research Excellence Framework, which distributes around £2bn of annual funding to universities.
Hannon is worried that the additional lockdown childcare, as well as caring for older family members and an increase in chores such as cooking and cleaning, is slowing up female researchers far more than their male colleagues.
Meanwhile, though, at another leading research publication, the Comparative Political Studies journal, submissions from men were up almost 50% in April, according to its co-editor, David Samuels.
Dr Jenny Hallam, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Derby, who is currently home schooling her two boys, aged seven and four, while trying to do her job, isn’t surprised. She loves doing research, but it has become a luxury she can no longer squeeze into her exhausting lockdown schedule.
Two days a week she is the sole home teacher, snatching the chance to work where she can. The other three days she and her husband, who is also an academic, do relay childcare. In the evenings she catches up with emails from students who are struggling to adjust to online teaching. She is coping, she says, but it is “overwhelming and tiring” and the days feel very long.
“Research has fallen by the wayside,” she says. “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.”
On top of that, Hallam has heard back from a research journal to which she submitted a paper before the lockdown, wanting her to make revisions by early June that she can’t find the time to do. She notes the journal took two months less than usual to respond. “Perhaps the reviewers aren’t parents,” she says drily.
“I wrote back explaining why I would struggle to make the deadline. The editor declined an extension, saying deadlines were important,” she says.
Dr Anneli Jefferson, a lecturer in philosophy at Cardiff University who is also home schooling her two boys, of nine and 12, agrees that research is the first thing to suffer when time is short. “Research is really important, but it’s not urgent. It’s not usually the thing that someone’s breathing down your neck about.”
She thinks anyone with a family will be slowed down by lockdown – “but women will probably be disadvantaged more strongly”.
“Many female academics will have partners with a more structured job with online meetings that are non-negotiable,” she says. “And it must be even harder for single mothers, because they are doing all this on their own.”
Prof James Wilsdon, director of the new Research on Research Institute based at the Wellcome Trust, worries that the coronavirus is skewing a playing field that wasn’t ever level in the first place. “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,” he says.
He agrees that research is not really compatible with family life in lockdown. “Research requires headspace and the ability to immerse yourself over a prolonged period.”
Wilsdon, who is himself juggling work and four children at home, says: “This is also about the division between those who have caring responsibilities and those who don’t. But I’d be the first to admit that women bear the brunt of the problem.”
And the issue goes beyond journals, he says. UK Research and Innovation, the national funding body for research, and other funding bodies, are fully aware that many women will also be struggling to find time to enter competitions for new research funding.
Wilsdon points out that raising money for new research is extremely important to universities, but it is less of apriority than the challenges of shifting teaching online. “No one is standing over you saying you must apply for a grant, so in a sense that becomes even more of a luxury than writing a research paper for a journal.” This worries funders, he says, but there is no easy solution.
Dr Viki Male, an immunologist at Imperial College London, says there is “definitely a danger” that female academics might be taking more of a hit in the lockdown than their male colleagues and competitors. She is looking after her children, aged three and six, as well as trying to run her lab, give lectures – including a new one on Covid-19 immunity – and check in with her research students. She often notches up 16-hour days of work and childcare.
She is quick to point out that her husband has taken on a lot at home too, but because she earns less, and can be more flexible about when she works, the bulk of the childcare falls to her.
“It made sense for me to be on domestics from 9 to 5,” she says. “I suspect, around the country, couples have had the same sorts of conversations we had. It probably reflects systemic ways in which men’s and women’s jobs often differ.”
She is concerned that women might be falling behind in the race to publish their research, and argues that even if all universities and funders agreed to make allowances for researchers who couldn’t publish during lockdown, those with caring responsibilities would still be left behind because others had had extra time to progress their research.
Wilsdon, however, says that in his more optimistic moments he hopes some good might come out of the lockdown for women, and that universities might be forced to confront calls for more flexible working.
“All the juggling and the hidden labour of domesticity that is part of many academics’ real lives is now being brought into view ,” he says. “Maybe when those things are raised in the future, universities will be better at understanding.”