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The differentiated effects of the burden of care during the COVID-19 crisis on women scientists: a reflection on the challenges and actions in Colombia

Inequalities in academia and science during COVID-19 in Colombia


  • Lina Caballero-Villalobos Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede La Paz
  • Edna Matta-Camacho Health Canada. Ottawa, Canada.
  • Edna Pinzón Egresada Departamento de Geociencias, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
  • Gustavo Silva-Arias Section of Population Genetics. Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan Technische Universität München.
  • Alba Ávila Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica y Electrónica, Universidad de los Andes.



academic production, equity, gender gap, women in science, gender parity, pandemic


During the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of the traditional scientific-academic activities, now with everyone at home, the work was stretched to the care of children or relatives, administrative burdens at homes, new virtual educational challenges, and the mental health management of colleagues, students, and research assistants. Although the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not discriminate based on gender or race in its contagion, several studies have shown that the pandemic disproportionately has intensified the productivity gap for women scientists, academics, and professionals, especially mothers. Before the pandemic, the gender perspective was already a topic little addressed in Colombian science, technology, and innovation policies, so it is more than necessary to discuss the challenges that Colombian women scientists face due to the pandemic in the country. Based on the critical review of the available literature on the difficulties expanded for women scientists due to the pandemic, recommendations are presented for possible actions and multisectoral strategies to minimize the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in historically underrepresented communities in the academy and science in our country. The existing evidence on the differentiated effects of the pandemic should generate reflection on how to support scientific personnel in Colombia, especially mothers and caregivers. Strategies are required to identify interventions during and after the pandemic to respond equitably to unequal impacts between genders in academia and science in Colombia.


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Applied Social Sciences