Women are under-represented as authors of research papers in many scientific areas, particularly in the most senior positions of first and last author, and this research published today in BMJ Global Health finds the trend persisting in publications on COVID-19.
The research team analysed publications on COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic in January 2020 to identify the representation of women in any authorship position, and as first or last author. Overall, women represented just over one third (34%) of all authors. Only 29% of the 1,235 papers assessed by first author were women, while this was even lower for last author at just 26% (of 1,216 papers).
“Our findings on the major gender gap in research authorship on COVID-19, and in the most senior positions in particular, mirrors the under-representation of women in other areas of science research; a trend that has persisted for years”, said Dr Ana-Catarina Pinho-Gomes of The George Institute UK, who led the analysis.