Molly M. King

Who owns knowledge and how does this shape inequality?

I am a sociologist who studies knowledge inequalities and the implications of these inequalities for people's lives.

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Santa Clara University. Learn more >

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Latest News

New publication published in Socius!


The Pandemic Penalty: The Gendered Effects of COVID-19 on Scientific Productivity

by Molly M. King and Megan E. Frederickson

Megan and I found that women in academic science lagged behind men in submissions to preprint servers during the pandemic's early months, with biggest impacts on last authors (typically, heads of labs). We outline potential mechanisms and recommendations for how institutions could better support academic women, now and in the future.

Presented at:

As part of the delegation from Sociologists for Women in Society, I presented at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on work with Megan Frederickson on the challenges women scientists are facing in the pandemic.


Featured in:

How Science Beat the Virus and what it lost in the process by Ed Yong

January / February, 2021 cover story of The Atlantic


"Among scientists, as in other fields, women do more child care, domestic work, and teaching than men, and are more often asked for emotional support by their students. These burdens increased as the pandemic took hold, leaving women scientists “less able to commit their time to learning about a new area of study, and less able to start a whole new research project,” says Molly M. King, a sociologist at Santa Clara University. Women’s research hours fell by nine percentage points more than did men’s because of the pressures of COVID‑19. And when COVID‑19 created new opportunities, men grabbed them more quickly. In the spring, the proportion of papers with women as first authors fell almost 44 percent in the preprint repository medRxiv, relative to 2019. And published COVID‑19 papers had 19 percent fewer women as first authors compared with papers from the same journals in the previous year. Men led more than 80 percent of national COVID‑19 task forces in 87 countries. Male scientists were quoted four times as frequently as female scientists in American news stories about the pandemic."