Principal Investigator: Dr Kate Carruthers Thomas Project Duration: June - December 2020.
This research addressed two over-arching questions:
What role does gender play in the experience of lockdown for university staff working from home and how does gender interact with ethnic group, age and role type?
What key issues and implications do the findings raise for gender equality - for individuals and for the university?
Data was collected via an online survey (Qualtrics Survey Software), open to all academic and professional services staff at one large modern UK university. The survey went live on 10 June and closed on 10 July. 543 completed responses were received.
Overall, the findings reflect an asymmetric impact of lockdown, well-documented in national literature. The data indicate a disproportionately negative impact of working from home during lockdown on all BCU female staff, with a particular burden on female academic staff. Female staff were:
more likely to take primary or sole responsibility for homeschooling
less likely to have access to dedicated working space at home
more likely to experience challenges in working comfortably and having appropriate technical equipment
more likely to report problems experienced from noise levels/interruptions while working from home
more likely to find balancing homeschooling, household and work-related tasks very difficult or impossible
more likely to report challenges in managing work/life/home boundaries
more likely to report a positive impact of lockdown on receiving appropriate support from their line manager.
In addition, female academic staff were
more likely to report a negative impact on their capacity to conduct research and write for publication. This is particularly acute for female academics with children.