Emily Kwong and Thomas Lu in NPR

Across STEMM, there are generally more men in the workforce than women. Representation in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine is even lower for women of color — facing racial discrimination on top of gender discrimination.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has been gathering data on this. Their 2020 consensus study report, “Promising Practices of Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in STEMM,” provided a roadmap for improving recruitment, retention, and advancement.

And then, the pandemic hit.

Already existing inequities deepened.

And a new report was commissioned.

Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong speaks with Dr. Eve Higginbotham about our earliest understandings of how the pandemic has impacted the careers of women in STEMM, and what support institutions can offer.

Dr. Higginbotham chaired a committee investigating how the pandemic specifically has affected women in STEMM. Higginbotham is a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania and Vice Dean for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity for Penn Medicine.

You can download a free prepublication PDF of the 2021 study, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,” here.

This episode was edited by Gisele Grayson, produced by Thomas Lu and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. The audio engineer for this episode was Josh Newell.