“Academic guilt”: The impact of the pandemic-enforced lockdown on women’s academic work

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According to anecdotal accounts, the guilt engendered by the conflict between employment and family that is pervasive in the academy (or “academic guilt,” in this paper) has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic-enforced lockdown. To date, there has been no systematic research that provides a detailed account of, and explanations for, the “academic guilt” experienced by women academics, in particular, outside of the Global North. The research team conducted a large-scale systematic survey of all female academic staff in a nationwide study of South Africa’s 26 public universities during the period of the lockdown. A total of 2029 full responses were received from women at different stages in their academic careers. The survey included an open-ended section that allowed for detailed, unlimited responses by the participants; this section provided a substantial volume of qualitative data, which was coded and analyzed. Leveraging the richness of the open-ended survey data, this study presents findings showing significantly high feelings of “academic guilt” among women academics during the pandemic-enforced lockdown for a variety of reasons relating to the working conditions imposed by the lockdown mandates.

Read the full paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2021.102522

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