To mark International Women’s Day, Emerald Publishing has launched a support network to help women in research overcome the challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Accessed through the publisher's Engage platform, the network connects reseachers to provide a space to share ideas and engage with established researchers. Over 1,200 female researchers have expressed an interest ahead of the launch in helping to provide support as a mentor or looking for support themselves, the publisher said. Emerald Engage is a closed, global, community for people who work in academia.
The network was established because Emerald felt that early-career female researchers were disproportionally affected by the pressure the pandemic forced on people, often entailing juggling more caring responsibilities, struggling to stay healthy physically and mentally, as well as feeling concerns about the impact of this on their career progression. The press 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.
Vicky Williams, who joined as the first c.e.o. of Emerald Publishing in 2018, 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 underrepresented 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-to-access relevant Emerald Research as well as resources from partners.
Professor Katy Shaw, professor of Contemporary Writings at Northumbria University, who has joined as a mentor, 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.” .