Pre-Existing Social Conditions: A Call to Prevent the Perpetuation of Gender Inequalities in Research Production during COVID-19
The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for systematic studies on our changing society and medical students are responding accordingly. However, emerging evidence indicates that there are changing patterns in research production since the initial COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, with an exponential increase in the number of manuscripts submitted to academic journals for peer review, but with women producing significantly less research compared to men. In an effort to contemplate what academic journals’ responsibilities are to counteract these trends among medical students, we consider three “pre-existing social conditions” that have the potential to negatively affect female medical students’ careers long-term: 1) the unequal division of labor both at home and work; 2) women’s lower well-being compared to men’s; and 3) men’s greater representation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. As a society, we need to offset these trends that threaten women’s careers, as we are at risk of reversing the diligent work achieved to improve gender equality in the fields of science and medicine. While “pre-existing conditions”—the social, economic, political, and historical forces discussed here— have led to, and exacerbated, gender disparities in research production during the pandemic, The International Journal of Medical Students (IJMS) is committed to acknowledging these gender inequalities and preventing their perpetuation among the next generation of future doctors and physician-scientists.
Squazzoni F, Bravo G, Grimaldo F, Garcıa-Costa D, Farjam M, Mehmani B. No Tickets for Women in the COVID-19 Race? A Study on Manuscript Submissions and Reviews in 2347 Elsevier Journals during the Pandemic. SSRN Electron J. Epub 2020 Oct 16.
Flaherty C. No Room of One's Own. Available from: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/21/early-journal-submission-data-suggest-covid-19-tanking-womens-research-productivity. Last updated Apr 21, 2020; cited Dec 13, 2020.
Shurchkov O. Is COVID-19 turning back the clock on gender equality in academia? Available from: https://email@example.com/is-covid-19-turning-back-the-clock-on-gender-equality-in-academia-70c00d6b8ba1. Last updated Apr 23, 2020; cited Dec 13, 2020.
Viglione G. Are women publishing less during the pandemic? Here’s what the data say. Nature. 2020 May;581(7809):365-6.
Vincent-Lamarre P, Sugimoto CR, Larivière V. The decline of women’s research production during the coronavirus pandemic. Available from: https://www.natureindex.com/news-blog/decline-women-scientist-research-publishing-production-coronavirus-pandemic. Last updated May 19, 2020; cited Dec 13, 2020.
Myers KR, Tham WY, Yin Y, Cohodes N, Thursby JG, Thursby MC, et al. Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists. Nat Hum Behav. 2020 Jul 15;4:880-3.
Prior S-D, McKinnon T, Gresty V, Mulligan M, Richards L, Watson A, et al. COVID‐19: medical students in clinical research. Clin Teach. 2020 Aug 27.
Filardo G, Graca B Da, Sass DM, Pollock BD, Smith EB, Martinez MAM. Trends and comparison of female first authorship in high impact medical journals: Observational study (1994-2014). BMJ. 2016 Jan 27;352:847.
Collins C, Landivar LC, Ruppanner L, Scarborough WJ. COVID-19 and the gender gap in work hours. Gend Work Organ. Epub 2020 Jul 2.
Budig MJ, England P. The wage penalty for motherhood. Am Sociol Rev. 2001 Apr;66(2):204-25.
Hochschild A, Machung A. The second shift: Working families and the revolution at home. New York: Penguin; 2012.
Miller CC. Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/upshot/pandemic-chores-homeschooling-gender.html. Last updated May 8, 2020; cited Dec 13, 2020.
Staniscuaski F, Reichert F, Werneck FP, de Oliveira L, Mello-Carpes PB, Soletti RC, et al. Impact of COVID-19 on academic mothers. Sills J, editor. Science. 2020 May 15;368(6492):724.
Mirowsky J, Ross CE. Sex Differences in Distress: Real or Artifact? Am Sociol Rev. 1995 Jun;60(3):449-68.
MacArthur KR. Treating Loneliness in the Aftermath of a Pandemic: Threat or Opportunity? In: Ryan JM, editors. COVID-19: Global Pandemic, Societal Responses, Ideological Solutions Volume I. U.K.: Routledge; 2020
MacArthur KR, Sikorski J. A qualitative analysis of the coping reservoir model of pre-clinical medical student well-being: human connection as making it 'worth it'. BMC Med Educ. 2020 May 19;20:157.
Mazurkiewicz R, Korenstein D, Fallar R, Ripp J. The prevalence and correlations of medical student burnout in the pre-clinical years: a cross sectional study. Psychol Health Med. 2012;17(2):188-95.
Dyrbye LN, Thomas MR, Shanafelt TD. Systematic review of depression, anxiety and other indicators of psychological distress among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Acad Med. 2006 Apr;81(4):354-73.
Dyrbye LN, Harper W, Durning SJ, Moutier C, Thomas MR, Massie FS Jr, et al. Patterns of distress in US medical students. Med Teach. 2011;33(10):834-9.
Shanafelt TD, West CP, Sinsky C, Trockel M, Tutty M, Satele DV, et al. Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Integration in Physicians and the General US Working Population Between 2011 and 2017. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Sep;94(9):1681-94.
Kjeldstadli K, Tyssen R, Finset A, Hem E, Gude T, Gronvold NT, et al. Life satisfaction and resilience in medical school–a six-year longitudinal, nationwide and comparative study. BMC Med Educ. 2006 Sep 19;6(1):48.
Jackson ER, Shanafelt TD, Hasan O, Satele DV, Dyrbye LN. Burnout and alcohol abuse/dependence among US medical students. Acad Med. 2016 Sept;91(9):1251-6.
Maser B, Danilewitz M, Guérin E, Findlay L, Frank E. Medical Student Psychological Distress and Mental Illness Relative to the General Population: A Canadian Cross-Sectional Survey. Acad Med. 2019 Nov;94(11):1781-91.
Schernhammer ES, Colditz GA. Suicide rates among physicians: a quantitative and gender assessment (meta-analysis). Am J Psychiatry. 2004;161(12):2295-302.
Cox MJ. The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of medical students in Australia. AMSJ. Epub 2020 Jun 5.
Komer L. COVID-19 amongst the Pandemic of Medical Student Mental Health. Int J Med Students. 2020 Jan-Apr;8(1):56-7
Lyons Z, Wilcox H, Leung L, Dearsley O. COVID-19 and the mental well-being of Australian medical students: impact, concerns and coping strategies used. Australas Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 10;28(6):649-52.
World Economic Forum (WEF). The Global Gender Gap Report. Geneva: WEF; 2020. Available from: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2020.pdf
Pinho-Gomes AC, Peters S, Thompson K, Hockham C, Ripullone K, Woodward M, et al. Where are the women? Gender inequalities in COVID-19 research authorship. BMJ Global Health. 2020 Jul 1;5(7):e002922.
Amgad M, Man Kin Tsui M, Liptrott SJ, Shash E Medical Student Research: An Integrated Mixed-Methods Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE. 2015 Jun 18; 10(6):e0127470.
Toci GR, Elsner JA, Bigelow BF, Bryant BR, LaPorte DM. Medical Student Research Productivity: Which Variables are Associated with Matching to a Highly Ranked Orthopaedic Residency Program? J Surg Educ. 2020 Aug 31:S1931-7204(20)30321-4.
Thompson RH, Lohse CM, Husmann DA, Leibovich BC, Gettman MT. Predictors of Scholarly Productivity, Pursuit of Fellowship, and Academic Practice Among Urology Residents Using Medical Student Application Materials. Urology. 2018 Oct;120:49-55.
Wadhwa H, Shah SS, Shan J, Cheng J, Beniwal AS, Chen JS, et al. The neurosurgery applicant's "arms race": analysis of medical student publication in the Neurosurgery Residency Match. J Neurosurg. 2019 Nov 1;1-9.
National Resident Matching Program. Charting Outcomes in the Match: Senior Students of U.S. MD Medical Schools. 2nd Edition. 2020 Jul;11-12p.
National Resident Matching Program. Charting Outcomes in the Match: Senior Students of U.S. DO Medical Schools. 2nd Edition. 2020 Jul;13-14p.
Cluver J, Book S, Brady K, Back S, Thornley N. Engaging medical students in research: reaching out to the next generation of physician-scientists. Acad Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;38(3):345-9.
Solomon SS, Tom SC, Pichert J, Wasserman D, Powers AC. Impact of medical student research in the development of physician-scientists. J Investig Med. 2003 May;51(3):149-56.
Stone C, Dogbey GY, Klenzak S, Van Fossen K, Tan B, Brannan GD. Contemporary global perspectives of medical students on research during undergraduate medical education: a systematic literature review. Med Educ Online. 2018 Dec;23(1):1537430.
Lucci-Canapari J. Survey Concludes Physician-scientists Need More Support. Available from: https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/26488/. Last updated Aug 6, 2020; cited Dec 13, 2020.
Clark J, Horton R. What is The Lancet doing about gender and diversity? Lancet. 2019 Feb 9;393(10171):508-10.
Garrido P, Tsang J, Peters S. Gender gap: surveying the world for tomorrow. ESMO Open. 2020 Jul;5:e000805.
Spector ND, Overholser B. Examining Gender Disparity in Medicine and Setting a Course Forward. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Jun 5;2(6):e196484.
Cotter DA, Hermsen JM, Ovadia S, Vanneman R. The Glass Ceiling Effect. Soc Forces. 2001 Dec 1;80(2):655-82.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kelly Rhea MacArthur, Madeleine J. Cox, Ciara Egan, Leah Komer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site; with the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from the Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Enforcement of copyright
The IJMS takes the protection of copyright very seriously.
If the IJMS discovers that you have used its copyright materials in contravention of the license above, the IJMS may bring legal proceedings against you seeking reparation and an injunction to stop you using those materials. You could also be ordered to pay legal costs.
If you become aware of any use of the IJMS' copyright materials that contravenes or may contravene the license above, please report this by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you become aware of any material on the website that you believe infringes your or any other person's copyright, please report this by email to email@example.com