The Pandemic and Gender Inequality in Academia
19 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 20, 2020
Does the pandemic exacerbate gender inequality in academia? The temporal lag in publication pipeline complicates the effort to determine the extent to which women’s productivity is disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We provide real-time evidence by analyzing 1.8 million tweets from approximately 3,000 political scientists, leveraging their use of social media for career advancement. Using automated text analysis and difference-in-differences estimation, we find that while faculty members of both genders were affected by the pandemic, the gap in work-related tweets between male and female academics roughly tripled following work-from-home. We further argue that these effects are likely driven by the increased familial obligations placed on women, as demonstrated by the increase in family-related tweets and the more pronounced effects among junior academics. Our causal evidence on work-family trade-off provides an opportunity for proactive efforts to address gender disparities that may otherwise take years to manifest.
Keywords: gender inequality, pandemic, COVID-19, academia
JEL Classification: J16, J24, I23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation