Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Career, Covid-19, and Care: (Gendered) Impacts of the Pandemic on the Work of Communication Scholars

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Abstract:  The study at hand analyzes the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions on scholars in the area of media and communication studies. It aims to highlight inequalities in the negative effects of the pandemic on academic output by examining the working conditions of scholars, taking into account gender, parenthood, and the partnership-based division of professional and care work. The quantitative survey was directed at communication scholars in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The findings show that there are no significant gender differences in terms of changes in academic output during the first 15 months of the pandemic; instead, disadvantages were observed in terms of parenting, regardless of the gender of the parents. Gender-specific effects could be detected concerning family situations and partnerships. Here, male participants are more often found in relationships in which the partner only works half-time, than women who mostly live with a partner who works full-time. The data suggest that gender differences related to changes in the time allotted for professional and care work and academic output are leveled out by the characteristics of the academic career model in which German-speaking scholars work. Nevertheless, gendered structures in academia and partnerships shape how the impact of the pandemic on professional work is experienced.

Keywords:  academic output; care work; communication studies; Covid-19; gender gap; German-speaking countries; inequality; transnational perspective



© Kathrin Friederike Müller, Corinna Peil, Franzisca Weder. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.