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Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Manuscript Submissions by Women

Educational Objective
To understand the consequences of COVID-19 have on manuscript submissions on women
1 Credit CME

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for many people and has amplified disparities that existed before the pandemic. One area that has received attention pertains to women, especially female parents, in academic environments. Before the pandemic, women already assumed more of the household and childcare duties than their male counterparts.13 With the pandemic, this disparity has likely been amplified and may now be adversely affecting the careers of women in academia in an unfortunate and lasting manner. With the shutdown of daycare centers and schools, women have assumed nearly twice as much of responsibility for caring for their children at home compared with men.4,5 As such, women’s ability to successfully work from home may be hampered, negatively influencing their academic productivity. It has been reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the percentage of men uploading manuscripts to the preprint servers arXiv.org and bioRxiv.org from March 15 to April 15, 2020, increased more than the percentage of women compared with the same period in 2019.6 Authorship gender among 15 839 COVID-19 articles published between January 1 and June 5, 2020, was compared with 85 373 articles published in the same journals during 2019, with both samples being based on first and/or last authors with US affiliations.7 The study found that women represented 5% less of first and last authorship positions in 2020 compared with men.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Melina R. Kibbe, MD, Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 4041 Burnett-Womack, CB 7050 101 Manning Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (melina_kibbe@med.unc.edu).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Published Online: August 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.3917

Additional Contributions: I thank Elizabeth Gorsuch, MA (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), for her assistance with data abstraction. She was not compensated.

References
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Jolly  S , Griffith  KA , DeCastro  R , Stewart  A , Ubel  P , Jagsi  R .  Gender differences in time spent on parenting and domestic responsibilities by high-achieving young physician-researchers.   Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(5):344-353. doi:10.7326/M13-0974PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Johnson  HM , Irish  W , Strassle  PD ,  et al.  Associations between career satisfaction, personal life factors, and work-life integration practices among us surgeons by gender.   JAMA Surg. Published June 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.1332PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Brubaker  L .  Women physicians and the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA. Published online July 31, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14797Google Scholar
4.
Sevilla  A , Smith  S . IZA DP No. 13302: baby steps: the gender division of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. IZA Institute of Labor Economics. Published online May 2020. Accessed July 27, 2020. https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/13302/baby-steps-the-gender-division-of-childcare-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
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Sevilla  A , Smith  S . Childcare during a global pandemic: many woman left juggling work and childcare, but men do their share when they are not working. VOX EU. Published June 16, 2020. Accessed July 27, 2020. https://voxeu.org/article/covid-19-and-childcare-men-doing-their-share-only-if-they-are-not-working
6.
Viglione  G .  Are women publishing less during the pandemic? here’s what the data say.   Nature. 2020;581(7809):365-366. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-01294-9PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
7.
Andersen  JP , Nielsen  MW , Simone  NL , Lewiss  RE , Jagsi  R .  COVID-19 medical papers have fewer women first authors than expected.   Elife. 2020;9:e58807. doi:10.7554/eLife.58807PubMedGoogle Scholar
8.
Dyrbye  LN , Shanafelt  TD , Balch  CM , Satele  D , Sloan  J , Freischlag  J .  Relationship between work-home conflicts and burnout among American surgeons: a comparison by sex.   Arch Surg. 2011;146(2):211-217. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.310PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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