Go back

Covid-19 impacts on women in science ‘could last generations’

Joint statement calls on universities to commit to a range of support actions

A group of Australian universities has developed a joint position statement to address the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on female science academics and researchers.

More than 12 universities across four states have been involved in developing the statement and a briefing paper that outlines the social, economic and career impacts of the pandemic for women.

“Adaption to the Covid-19 environment has seen most academic and key professional staff leading the transition to online learning,” it says.

“Both increases and decreases to workloads as a result of Covid-19 pose specific gender concerns. Since more women perform teaching and occupy student-facing roles, an unanticipated spike in workload due to rapid online learning design and increased pastoral care of students affects women disproportionately.”

It warns that if Australia’s universities “ignore the gendered effects of Covid-19, the negative economic and social impacts will be felt for generations”.

The statement asks universities to commit to a range of support actions for women. These include: actively seeking representation from women in Covid-19 response plans; monitoring and reporting on gender impacts; supporting women in senior academic roles; and maintaining or introducing key performance indicators for gender diversity and inclusivity.

The statement has been endorsed by the Australian Academy of Science.