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In their recent survey of 1,003 fellow political scientists in the U.S. and abroad, Marijke Breuning, Christina Fattore, Jennifer Ramos and Jamie Scalera found that both men and women remain concerned about their personal productivity during the coronavirus pandemic. Both women and men “perceive the pandemic as disruptive to their ability to write and conduct research and both worry about their own productivity,” the researchers said in a preliminary write-up of their results posted to the American Political Science Association's APSA Preprints platform. “The differences between women and men are not statistically significant.”

Rather than gender, the researchers found that the biggest productivity gap during the pandemic might be between parents and nonparents.

Looking ahead, respondents did not generally believe that academe would weigh the impact of caregiving on scholarly productivity. And while men and women both reported struggling with work at this time, both men and women said they believed “women will be worse off than men in academia, post-pandemic.”

Some 386 respondents to the survey said they’re living at home with children under 18. Of those, 239 are women and 147 are men. Parenting solo are 28 women and 10 men.

In open-ended questions, many respondents shared their difficulties with parenting and working at this time. One respondent said, for instance, that the “academic work load has always been difficult to manage and the last couple of months it has been frankly impossible.” For parents, providing at-home education proved most time-consuming. Some said that supervising their children’s distance learning takes “more time than working on my own work.” One worried that the consequences of the pandemic may “permanently push me out of academia.”

Perceptions of Productivity and Parenting During Coronavirus