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posted by janrinok on Monday September 22 2014, @04:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the ashamed dept.

Margaret C. Hardy reports that the life sciences have recently come under fire with a study that investigated the level of sexual harassment and sexual assault of trainees in academic fieldwork environments and found that 71% of women and 41% of men respondents experienced sexual harassment, while 26% of women and 6% of men reported experiencing sexual assault. The research team also found that within the hierarchy of academic field sites surveyed, the majority of incidents were perpetrated by peers and supervisors. "More often it is the men of one’s own field team, one’s co-workers, who violate their female colleagues," writes A. Hope Jahren:

There is a fundamental and culturally learned power imbalance between men and women, and it follows us into the workplace. The violence born of this imbalance follows us also. We would like to believe that it stops short of following us into the laboratory and into the field — but it does not. I listen to my colleagues talk endlessly about recruiting more women into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, and postulate what the barriers might be. Sexual assault is a pernicious and formidable barrier to women in science, partly because we have consistently gifted to it our silence. I have given it 18 years of my silence and I will not give it one day more.

Many of us work in fields related to this study - what are your experiences?

 
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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tftp on Monday September 22 2014, @05:50AM

    by tftp (806) on Monday September 22 2014, @05:50AM (#96619) Homepage

    Sexual assault is a pernicious and formidable barrier to women in science

    Isn't it a barrier to women everywhere, not only in science?

    A handy rule, of course, is to not have a romance of any kind where you live or work. But it comes with such a convenience that some fail to follow that simple rule. Science says that love is a chemically induced temporary insanity...

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22 2014, @06:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22 2014, @06:33AM (#96632)

    > Science says that love is a chemically induced temporary insanity...

    No, "Science" says no such thing.

    A philosopher wrote [blogspot.ca] "Romantic love is an altered state of consciousness."

    But sexual harassment isn't about romantic love at all.

  • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Monday September 22 2014, @07:49AM

    by shortscreen (2252) on Monday September 22 2014, @07:49AM (#96643) Journal

    Men hit on women. This behavior will continue, until the day that it ceases getting results.

    Just look at telemarketers. Even the ones that are selling legitimate products are widely disliked because of their tactics. Yet they continue to operate. Then there are the ones who are purely scammers, who are universally hated and have laws standing against them, and they also continue to operate. Because again, occasionally they get results.

    This is not to say that people shouldn't be called out for bad behavior. But there will always be a debate over where to draw the line, even if women get to be the only judges.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by jimshatt on Monday September 22 2014, @10:00AM

      by jimshatt (978) on Monday September 22 2014, @10:00AM (#96676) Journal
      I was just discussing the difference between sexism in tech vs other sectors (e.g. financial or medical) with my wife. We suspect there is as much sexism in the financial and medical sectors as there is in the tech sector (or science or wherever), but since financial types are generally seen as better 'groomed' (they apparently brush their teeth better, or whatever) they have a higher success rate. That might even mean there is actually more sexism there, but the perceived level of sexism is lower because a successful attempt isn't perceived as sexism (but as courtship).
      Of course, sexual assault is another story altogether. I'm curious how these numbers compare to other sectors. Maybe they are about equal in every sector?
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Monday September 22 2014, @01:38PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday September 22 2014, @01:38PM (#96747)

      Men hit on women. This behavior will continue, until the day that it ceases getting results.

      And the point is that while the man and woman in question are together primarily because they're working together, the only result they should get is reprimands, discipline, and eventually firing if it continues.

      The line isn't that complicated: At work, you call women by their names, and talk to them mostly about work. If it drifts away from work, there are many topics which have nothing to do with her appearance or sexual desirability. If you wouldn't be comfortable discussing the topic at hand with a nice little old lady you just met, then it is probably not an appropriate conversation for work. And yes, that means you don't call your female colleagues "honey" unless you have some sort of outside-of-work relationship that would make that appropriate (e.g. she's your niece).

      If you want to hit on somebody, go to some place where women are (a) not required to be there in order to financially survive, and (b) have the viable option to leave at any time. And if she doesn't react favorably to your first hints, then back off.

      In my experience, the line is only fuzzy when somebody wants to cross it or doesn't know how to keep thoughts to themselves when appropriate.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22 2014, @01:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 22 2014, @01:47PM (#96754)

    Sorry, it's not good enough to say that the issues of violence against women and sexual harassment are "everywhere", so people in the STEM field can ignore it, or leave it to law enforcement.

    The aggravating factor in STEM is that it is predominantly male, particularly in the power structure.

    See: Goodell, Roger