The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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The report arose out of the need to expeditiously identify, name, and document how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the careers of women in academic STEMM during the initial 9-month period from March to December 2020, and to consider how these disruptions—both positive and negative—might shape future progress for women in academic STEMM. The committee’s task was to build on the Promising Practices report and examine the COVID-19 pandemic’s potential influences on women in academic STEMM. Preliminary evidence indicated that such disruptions could have both short- and long-term consequences, and will likely vary across institution type; career stage or focus; academic rank; and personal characteristics, including family structure, caregiving responsibilities, and behavioral health status. Developing a comprehensive understanding of the nuanced ways these disruptions have manifested may help the academic community emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic ready to mitigate any long-term negative consequences the COVID-19 pandemic might have on the continued advancement of women in the academic STEMM workforce. It may also help the academic community build on the adaptations and opportunities that have emerged during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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