The COVID-19 pandemic revealed inequities not only among communities and people of color, but also among caregivers, especially women.
During 2020-21, IU social scientist Jessica Calarco and colleagues launched the Pandemic Parenting Study. Calarco quickly became a leading national voice regarding the unequal burdens of caregiving that U.S. women shoulder, to the detriment of their personal health, their careers, their families, their communities, and the economy. Her research on women's unpaid labor and the exacerbations of the global pandemic was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and more.
The impact of the pandemic on women was no less dramatic for women in academia. In mid-2020, Calarco joined other women faculty from numerous institutions in an opinion for Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences that examined the "ways in which COVID-19 is amplifying known barriers to women's career advancement."
Recognizing the acute issues exposed by the pandemic, IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate established the IU Gender Equity in Research Task Force in fall 2020 to study systemic inequities for women academics at IU and suggest short- and long-term actionable solutions within the research context.
The task force's work resulted in an Emergency Equity Fund for Research to support research-related needs not already met by existing funding sources, a faculty-wide survey to inform future targeted resources and solutions, and recommendations to the university to address inequities among IU researchers.