The disappearance of women researchers in times of pandemic

When an article is published in a scientific journal, three authorship positions indicate who the study’s principal researchers are: first author, last author and corresponding author. These positions are used for decision-making, particularly in the evaluation of scientific careers and the awarding of possible promotions. Previous studies have shown that women less frequently occupy these authorship positions than men do, especially as last authors, a position reserved to senior scientists. A team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), in Switzerland, in collaboration with BMJ Publishing Group, have now demonstrated that this inequality increased considerably during the first wave of the pandemic, with a decrease of almost 20% in the number of women first and corresponding authors. Why? With lockdowns, women researchers had to adapt their academic duties and shoulder more domestic tasks and homeschooling. These results can be read in the journal BMJ.

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