Covid pandemic disproportionately affects young academics with small children

The Covid pandemic affects young academics with small children more than their older colleagues. Young academics report clashes between work and family life and a loss of research time more often.

The Young Academy and the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH) conclude this on the basis of a study of six thousand academics during the first lockdown that lasted from March until June 2020.

The organisations say this is the first large study into the impact of the pandemic on academics at Dutch universities.

Tired and exhausted

A quarter of academics say they experienced an excess of stress and fatigue and that they felt tired and exhausted during the first few months of the pandemic.

Non-Dutch academics and academics just starting their careers scored the highest in these sectors. Especially female academics with young children said that it was difficult to combine work and childcare during the lockdown.


During the first lockdown, academics were able to spend significantly less time on research. Forty percent of all academics reported a loss of research time.

More than half of PhD candidates, post-doctoral researchers, and academics on a tenure tracks reported delays related to the pandemic. They don’t think they’ll be able to finish their projects on time or be able to meet the requirements of their tenure track.

Especially academics with care responsibilities noticed their research time declining sharply. Academics with young children in the home lost much more time than those without kids at home, the Young Academy and LNVH conclude.

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