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COVID-19: A Moment for Women in STEM?


National Academy of Sciences panel chronicles what COVID-19 has been like for female scientists and then urges institutions to take meaningful, equity-minded action on their findings. Colleges and universities had to react quickly to COVID-19, including with respect to the faculty. A year into the pandemic, it’s time to pause and assess the impact that it has had on professors — especially on women, who face disproportionately more caregiving work at home and corresponding blows to their productivity . Then it’s time to move forward more thoughtfully, guided by policies that center equity and intersectionality.

This is the essential message of a massive new consensus report on COVID-19 and the careers of women in academic sciences, engineering and medicine from the National Academy of Sciences.

“We as a community in academia, we have to pay attention,” said Eve Higginbotham, chair of the report committee and vice dean of inclusion and diversity and a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is an issue we have to be intentional about, as we are at risk of losing a significant portion of valued members of our community.”

As dire as some of the report’s findings are, Higginbotham and other committee members who […]

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