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Pandemic Threatens to Damage Careers of Women in STEM

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blocks hit by Covid-19 virus fall towards woman, illustration

Credit: Getty Images

Women in science are being pushed past the point of no return due to the ongoing strain of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with longstanding structural barriers — threatening permanent damage to their careers, says Patricia Clark, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame.

An estimated 3 million women have left or have been forced out of the workforce since the pandemic began.

Deep structural issues present barriers to women's participation in science, says Clark, and the pandemic has "laid bare the many inequities that . . . faced women in the workforce, particularly mothers and those who serve as primary caregivers for their families," says the Congressional Women in STEM Caucus.

"Everyone now has a greater chance of failure because there are new, pandemic-related ways to fail," Clark says.

From University of Notre Dame
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