Gender and the Pandemic

two women wearing gas mask
Photo credit: Museums Victoria on Unsplash

As the pandemic began to take center stage in spring 2020, we at the Clayman Institute  began talking  about the gendered effects of COVID-19 and the intersecting inequalities highlighted by the pandemic. There are many: the high prevalence of women among healthcare workers, caregiving while working from home, disparities in unemployment and more. We reached out to our colleagues in gender research -- fellows, former fellows and faculty affiliates -- to ask for their expertise and insights. Some saw their existing research in a new light; others saw an entirely different experience at home. We hope this collected writing is a source of insight for those looking at current events through a gender lens. We plan to add more in coming months as our prospective writers are able to balance new work with their many changed responsibilities.

Featured Writing

In the Media

Many Clayman Institute affiliates have written articles or have been quoted on the pandemic in national publications. Below are recent mentions in the media.

  • Analysis suggests that, across academic disciplines, women’s publishing rate has fallen relative to men’s amid the pandemic. Molly King, sociologist at Santa Clara Univeristy and former graduate dissertation fellow. Nature: News
  • Stanford partners to study how coronavirus spreads and if previous infection confers immunity. "This knowledge will be critical in coming months..." Yvonne Maldonado, a lead investigator on the study, pediatrician, and former faculty fellow. Stanford News 
  • Economist and founding Director Myra Strober on feminism without childcare -- we need to challenge assumptions about which spouse has more workplace flexibility, the part-timer or the executive. “People who are higher up in an organization usually have more flexibility.” San Francisco Chronicle
  • From former Director Shelley Correll on the new work-life reality: "There is concern that the current economic situation will worsen workplace bullying and sexual harassment, especially when social distancing eases." Stanford News
  • Former Graduate Dissertation Fellow Dr. Arghavan Salles, scholar-in-residence at Stanford Medicine, who took vacation days to work at a New York hospital. The surgeon says of N95 masks that don't fit many women: "What else comes in just two sizes? We're suggesting that all faces on the planet are one of two sizes." BBC News
  • Sociologist David Pedulla, a former faculty fellow, on hiring bias and part-time work: During recovery many will work "either part-time, through temp agencies, or below their skill level. These are precisely the types of positions that I have been studying." Stanford News 
  • Aliya Rao, assistant professor of sociology at Singapore Management University and former postdoctoral fellow, on unemployment and identity: "As steady employment becomes more precarious in the U.S., and indeed globally, and we brace for a wave of unemployment in the wake of COVID-19, we should take stock of placing so much significance on employment in determining our worth as social beings." Harvard Business Review
  • "People draw motivation from the opportunity to work with others from early in life" -- interview with former faculty fellow and Stanford psychologist Greg Walton on small gestures that can foster a feeling of togetherness despite physical distancing. Stanford News
  • “There are profound sex differences in immune systems, and this pandemic is revealing them.” Stanford Medicine Professor and Faculty Research Fellow Marcia Stefanick on higher death rates for men from COVID-19. Vox
  • Delayed and turned away: “There is a lot of confusion about how the states are going to be rolling out the benefits provided in the CARES Act.” Veena Dubal, associate professor at UC Hastings School of Law and former Clayman Institute postdoctoral fellow, about gig workers trying to get promised unemployment benefits. Washington Post 
  • "The current moment provides an opportunity to make lasting changes to the status quo and improve conditions for all workers" -- extending worker protections in wake of the COVID crisis from former postdoctoral fellow Megan Tobias NeelyHarvard Business Review