The National Academies of Sciences (NAS) released a report that describes how sexual harassment in the science field puts women at risk, diminishes their career prospects, and deters them from entering or remaining in the field. While progress towards closing the gender gap in science, engineering, and medicine is underway, consistent sexual harassment in these fields jeopardizes those advances. The current system is set up to protect academic institutions, not the victims. This systemic problem in academia must change and science needs to forge its own MeToo movement, the report suggests.
NAS Explores Sexual Harassment Rates in Science
Academic science has many faculty-trainee relationships, including researchers spending long hours together in isolating environments like labs and hospitals. Consequently, the sexual harassment rates in science, medicine, and engineering are startling.
A survey from the University of Texas reports the rates of those that have experienced sexual harassment by faculty and staff they work with, consisting of:
- 20 percent of female undergraduate and graduate science students
- More than a quarter of female engineering students
- More than 40 percent of medical students
A survey from the Pennsylvania State University system shared similar results for those that have experienced sexual harassment, consisting of:
- 33 percent of undergraduates
- 43 percent of graduate students
- 50 percent of medical students
Women report sexual harassment more commonly than men; however, women with multiple marginalities, women of color, and sexual and gender-minority women are more susceptible to sexual harassment.
In science academia, gender harassment was reportedly more common than unwanted sexual attention or force. Gender harassment includes remarks and mental mind games that disparage women and make them feel substandard or like they do not belong, especially in leadership positions.
Examples of such actions in the workplace include:
- Crude comments
- Belittling jokes
- Public demeaning
- Rude interjections
- Abruptly ending conversations
Recommendations to Address the Problem
The NAS report offered recommendations on how to address the sexual harassment problem in the science field, including creating work environments that are more diverse and inclusive, initiating legislation that protects sexual harassment victims from retaliation, and developing clear and consistent policies on sexual harassment and standards.
Cherry Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims Sexually Harassed in Science Academia
If you work in the science field and have been sexually harassed in the workplace, contact a Cherry Hill sexual harassment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for help. Our lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case and determine your legal options. We have the knowledge and experience to aggressively defend your rights through every step of the process, from filing a claim to any necessary litigation. Conveniently located in Philadelphia, we help New Jersey clients obtain justice. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 today.