Pandemic Deepens The Barriers For Women in STEMM : Short Wave In general, there are more men in STEMM fields than women. Representation in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine is even lower for women of color — facing racial discrimination on top of gender discrimination. And then, the pandemic hit. Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong speaks with Dr. Eve Higginbotham about our earliest understandings of how the pandemic has impacted women in STEMM, and what support institutions can offer to make it easier for women in stay in the workforce and progress in their careers. You can download a free PDF of the 2021 study here.
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Pandemic Could Roll Back Advancements For Women in STEMM

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Pandemic Could Roll Back Advancements For Women in STEMM

Pandemic Could Roll Back Advancements For Women in STEMM

Pandemic Could Roll Back Advancements For Women in STEMM

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/997652545/997652677" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Many women in science careers faced difficulties during the pandemic that may set back their careers. A new report details some of the issues and suggests ways that universities and other institutions should make sure they keep women in those fields. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images hide caption

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Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Many women in science careers faced difficulties during the pandemic that may set back their careers. A new report details some of the issues and suggests ways that universities and other institutions should make sure they keep women in those fields.

Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Across STEMM, there are generally more men in the workforce than women. Representation in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine is even lower for women of color — facing racial discrimination on top of gender discrimination.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has been gathering data on this. Their 2020 consensus study report, "Promising Practices of Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in STEMM," provided a roadmap for improving recruitment, retention, and advancement.

And then, the pandemic hit.

Already existing inequities deepened.

And a new report was commissioned.

Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong speaks with Dr. Eve Higginbotham about our earliest understandings of how the pandemic has impacted the careers of women in STEMM, and what support institutions can offer.

Dr. Higginbotham chaired a committee investigating how the pandemic specifically has affected women in STEMM. Higginbotham is a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania and Vice Dean for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity for Penn Medicine.

You can download a free prepublication PDF of the 2021 study, "The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine," here.

This episode was edited by Gisele Grayson, produced by Thomas Lu and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. The audio engineer for this episode was Josh Newell.