Covid has put unprecedented pressure on everyone in academia, but one group that is disproportionally affected are female early career researchers that are often juggling more caring responsibilities, struggling to stay healthy physically and mentally, as well as being concerned about the impact of this on their career progression, says Emerald Publishing.
As a result of this, Emerald has seen a 35% decline in research from female researchers in early-stage roles during the pandemic and a recent survey by the publisher found that one in four female researchers say a lack of a support network is the main pressure of academic life today.
To change this, Emerald Publishing has launched a support network to connect researchers and provide them with a safe space to talk to others, make connections, share ideas and buddy up with more established researchers who have stepped up to share their experiences, advice and provide practical tools.
The platform has already seen considerable demand from more than 1,200 female researchers expressing an interest ahead of the launch, in helping to provide support as a mentor or looking for support themselves.
Vicky Williams, CEO of Emerald Publishing, said: “There has been increased pressure on everyone in academia during the pandemic, but we have seen that women in particular have felt the effects of juggling increased caring responsibilities and work responsibilities and are seeking a strong support network. We hope that through this network, we can connect researchers and support them so that women are not left behind in a post-Covid world and their voices continue to be heard through the power of research.
“Publishing is an integral part of academia and the launch of this support network is just another step that we are taking to help level the playing field. We are particularly committed to amplifying under-represented voices in academia and therefore actively welcome intersectional involvement and participation in Engage.”
Several established academic professionals have joined Engage as mentors and will be sharing their real-life experiences along with practical tools, guidance and support from Emerald Works, free access for a limited time to relevant Emerald Research as well as resources from partners.
Professor Katy Shaw, Professor of Contemporary Writings, Northumbria University, has joined as a mentor and commented: “International Women’s Day is an annual reminder that in a world dominated by post-pandemic recovery, EDI cannot be kicked to the curb in discussions about how to get back on our feet after Covid. The only sustainable way forward – and the only real way of building resilience against future crises – is by getting up off our knees together.”
Emerald Publishing’s own journey to equality has gathered pace since the appointment of Vicky Williams as its first ever female CEO in 2018. In the last four years alone, Emerald has published 3,000 articles related to gender issues, supported the Workplace Equity Project, joined the C4DISC as a member and expanded its STRIDE programme, an internal peer-led initiative which empowers colleagues to create a culture of diversity and inclusion.
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