“If women are dissuaded or excluded from even a handful of opportunities, she continued, the loss to science is enormous.”
As an undergraduate student in biology, I spent several weeks in Costa Rica one summer with an older graduate student on a research project deep in the cloud forest. It was just the two of us, and upon arriving at our site, I discovered that he had arranged a single room for us, one bed.
Mortified but afraid of being labeled prudish or difficult, I made no fuss. I took the lodge owner aside the next day and requested my own bed. The problem ended there, and my graduate student boss never made any physical advances.
Reflecting back, I’m struck by how ill equipped I was to deal with this kind of situation, especially at 19. My university undoubtedly had a harassment policy, but such resources were thousands of miles away. I was alone in a foreign country and had never received any training on my rights and resources in the field.
I’d forgotten about this experience from two decades ago until I read areport published July 16 in the journal PLOS One. Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and three colleagues used email and social media to invite scientists to fill out an online questionnaire about their experiences with harassment and assault at field sites; they received 666 responses, three quarters of them from women, from 32 disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, biology and geology.
Almost two-thirds of the respondents said they had been sexually harassed in the field. More than 20 percent reported being sexually assaulted. Students or postdoctoral scholars, and women were most likely to report being victimized by superiors. Very few respondents said their field site had a code of conduct or sexual harassment policy, and of the 78 who had dared to report incidents, fewer than 20 percent were satisfied with the outcome.
The findings are depressingly similar to the data some colleagues and I collected this year from an online questionnaire sent to science writers.
The Latest on: Harassment in Science
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The Latest on: Harassment in Science
- Speakers at UI sexual-harassment summit: Sexual 'coercion' just tip of icebergon October 17, 2019 at 5:10 am
Too often, Clancy said, women are told to “brush off” those behaviors. But in a study on sexual harassment in astronomy and planetary science, a significant number of women said they had skipped ...
- New guide offers support and advice to researchers experiencing online harassmenton October 16, 2019 at 5:49 am
The guide offers clear practical tips with an added focus on how to deal with social media harassment and malicious comments on online forums. It is launched by the independent press office for high ...
- Women in the Workplace 2019: Live Coverageon October 16, 2019 at 12:40 am
A cognitive scientist by training, she explored the science behind impostor syndrome in high-pressure situations ... In the wake of the #MeToo movement, more must be done to make women comfortable ...
- Increase in online hate speech leads to more crimes against minoritieson October 15, 2019 at 7:05 am
Their results show that as the number of "hate tweets"—those deemed to be antagonistic in terms of race, ethnicity or religion—made from one location increased, so did the number of racially and ...
- Sexual harassment happening in churches too – TUTAG presidenton October 14, 2019 at 4:16 am
President of the Association, Solomon Keelson, believes such sexual harassment cases are issues of morality and ... Two lecturers of the University of Ghana, a Political Science lecturer, Prof.
- Female medical school students are still facing harassmenton October 11, 2019 at 3:08 pm
I was appalled by the Oct. 8 Health & Science article “ I get harassed in hospitals. Other women do, too.,” about sexual harassment of female medical students. Forty years ago, one of the reasons I ...
- Turning the tables: Women in tech job interviews have questions of their ownon October 11, 2019 at 11:05 am
Named for a pioneer in computer science, the Grace Hopper Celebration is a crucial gathering point for the tech industry and seen as a test of how much progress Silicon Valley is making in shedding ...
- South Africa: Students Loath to Report Sexual Harassmenton October 9, 2019 at 11:58 pm
This year the Commission for Gender Equality released a report on gender and sexual harassment policies in four higher education institutions and the Department of Higher Education, Science and ...
- Employees Report Threatening Anti-LGBT Harassment, Retaliation at National Science Foundationon October 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm
A union representing employees at the National Science Foundation demanded Monday that the agency take action to hold managers accountable for acts of bullying, sexual harassment and retaliation ...
- I’m a female doctor. I often face sexual harassment at the hospital. And I’m not the only one.on October 5, 2019 at 6:06 am
A report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) revealed that female medical students are 220 percent more likely than nonscience students to suffer sexual harassment ...
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