A new report by the Commission’s Expert Group on the ‘COVID-19 impact on gender equality in Research and Innovation’ argues that the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in research and innovation. The report illustrates how closed research facilities, reduced networking opportunities, suspension of international mobility, and blurred boundaries between work and private life exposed critical issues and gender inequalities in the R&I system.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected particularly women and groups that were already less visible in research careers prior to the pandemic. Several studies show a decrease in academic productivity for women researchers, and particularly those in their early career stages. Additionally, women had a disproportionate amount of care responsibilities, including home schooling, which led to less time to conduct research, compared to those without care responsibilities. Moreover, often the response of the R&I community to tackle these issues was gender-blind, therefore sometimes unintentionally tipping the balance in favour of men.
The report offers a concrete set of recommendations and urges R&I stakeholders and policymakers to mitigate the gendered effects of the pandemic, including through targeted research funding schemes and the redefinition of research assessment criteria.
The Expert Group was composed of 12 international experts in the field of gender equality in research and kicked-off their activities last year in March. Three years after the outbreak of the pandemic, a lot remains to be done to ensure researchers in vulnerable positions are not falling behind.
- Publication date
- 5 May 2023
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation