Unequal impact of the COVID-19 crisis

As the Netherlands is slowly making a restart after the COVID-19 crisis, its impact on academia becomes increasingly apparent. Among the known consequences are study delays, universities struggling to design and organize online education, and challenges to conducting research, especially projects that are carried out in labs or abroad. Moreover, there are indications that the crisis has deepened existing inequalities – between established and early career academics, as well as between male and female researchers. For example, already in April, academic journal editors noticed a decrease in the number of manuscripts submitted by female scholars. Although it may be too early to tell, the drop in output by female scholars may be due to the perpetuation of traditional gender roles in the home, whereby the bulk of the responsibility of childcare continues to fall on women’s shoulders. Notwithstanding the large amount of COVID-19 related funding calls, such indications of deepening inequality require careful reflection on the use of motto’s like ‘using crisis as an opportunity’.