The Pandemic and Gender Inequality in Academia
By Eunji Kim, Vanderbilt University, and Shawn Patterson Jr., Southern Oregon University
Has the pandemic exacerbated gender inequality in academia? We provide real- time evidence by analyzing 1.8 million tweets from approximately 3,000 political scientists, leveraging their use of social media for career advancement. Using automated text analysis and difference-in-differences estimation, we find that although faculty members of both genders were affected by the pandemic, the shift to remote work caused women to tweet less often than their male colleagues about professional accomplishments. We argue that these effects are driven by the increased familial obligations placed on women, as demonstrated by the increase in family-related tweets and the more pronounced effects among junior academics. Our evidence demonstrating the gendered shift in professional visibility during the pandemic provides the opportunity for proactive efforts to address disparities that otherwise may take years to manifest.