Academics in Lockdown: A Gendered Perspective on Self-Esteem in Academia during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown

by Vanessa Davids

Published in the Sustainability, 11 March 2023


This qualitative research explores the experiences and sense-making of self-worth of 1857 South African women academics during the enforced pandemic lockdown between March and September 2020; the study was conducted through an inductive, content analysis process. Since worldwide lockdowns were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, women academics, in particular, have reported a unique set of challenges from working from home. Gender inequality within the scientific enterprise has been well documented; however, the cost to female academics’ self-esteem, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, has yet to be fully realized. The findings of the study include negative emotional experiences related to self-worth, engagement in social comparisons, and the fear of judgement by colleagues, which were exacerbated by peer pressure. Finally, the sense-making of academic women’s self-esteem as it relates to their academic identity was reported. Beyond being the first comprehensive national study on the topic, the study’s insights are more broadly useful for determining what support, accommodation, and assistance is needed for academic women to sustain performance in their academic and research duties at universities worldwide.

Read the full paper:

You may also like

Leave a Comment