Women Researchers Fell Behind Their Male Counterparts During COVID-19 Due To Care-Giving Duties: Report

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Many research studies and surveys have so far shown that the already existent gap in opportunities between men and women grew wider during the pandemic. Almost 50 per cent women India were forced to leave their jobs because they were burdened with care-giving duties.

According to a report by the Hindu, the women researchers fell behind big time during the pandemic, a time when so many COVID-related research studies were submitted to journals. A study by Elsevier journals showed that fewer women submitted manuscripts at that time. During the first wave of the pandemic, the number of submissions reportedly increased but even then the manuscripts submitted by women were less in number. Even at peak in 2020, the submissions made by men were over 1,50,000 and women only submitted some 75,000 manuscripts.

Women Researchers During COVID-19 Made Fewer Submissions:

Even in the past, male researchers have submitted more manuscripts than women but the gap grew wider during the COVID-19. The hypothesis of the research states that the women were then occupied with care-giving duties and family obligations. As per the data, 90 per cent women on average participated in domestic work and only 27 per cent men did the same.

The findings are also supported by the Time Use Surveys by the National Statistical Organistaion according to which a majority of women are engaged in unpaid domestic work and men do the employment-related work.

The report also highlighted the average change in submissions from February to May 2020 to the average submissions during the same period in 2018 and 2019 across many research areas. It showed that the gap between the submissions made women older than 20 and the men of their age group was lesser than the gap found in the age group younger than 20.

Only 22 per cent Indian women were engaged in paid employment activities during COVID-19 as compared to 71 per cent men.

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