Sexual Harassment in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

SH Study


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An ad hoc committee under the oversight of Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM) undertook a study of the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce.
Please contact us at SHstudy@nas.edu or contact the study director, Frazier Benya.


NEWS


PREPUBLICATION REPORT RELEASED

 

Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018)

Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation of women, has improved and there are significantly more women entering careers and studying science, engineering, and medicine than ever before. However, as women increasingly enter these fields they face biases and barriers and it is not surprising that sexual harassment is one of these barriers.

Over thirty years the incidence of sexual harassment in different industries has held steady, yet now more women are in the workforce and in academia, and in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine (as students and faculty) and so more women are experiencing sexual harassment as they work and learn. Over the last several years, revelations of the sexual harassment experienced by women in the workplace and in academic settings have raised urgent questions about the specific impact of this discriminatory behavior on women and the extent to which it is limiting their careers.

Sexual Harassment of Women explores the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. This report reviews the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment and examines the existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers. It also identifies and analyzes the policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings.



MEDIA COVERAGE


The New York Times
How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says
"There is no evidence to suggest that current policies, procedures, and approaches have resulted in a significant reduction in sexual harassment," said the report, which was more than two years in the making, starting well before the #MeToo era...
 
The Washington Post
Half of women in science experience harassment, a sweeping new report finds
The solution will require a "systemwide change to the culture and climate in higher education," the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine conclude...
 
Science
Sexual harassment isn't just about sex: Groundbreaking report details persistent hostility female scientists face
Ask someone for an example of sexual harassment and they might cite a professor's insistent requests to a grad student for sex. But such lurid incidents account for only a small portion of a serious and widespread harassment problem in science...
 
Nature
Sexual harassment is rife in the sciences, finds landmark US study
Sexual harassment is pervasive throughout academic science in the United States, driving talented researchers out of the field and harming others' careers, finds a report from the US National Academies of Sciences.



UPCOMING EVENTS


Report Discussion
June 26, 2018
Irvine, CA

How can academic institutions and other industries improve in the #MeToo era? Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on June 26th for discussion with leaders in higher education and those in entertainment, technology, medicine, and politics, about what actions can be taken to prevent sexual harassment. The discussion will revolve around a new report by the National Academies that presents a comprehensive review of the research, experiences, and effects of sexual harassment on women and their careers in science, engineering, and medicine. In addition to evidence-based findings, the report provides recommendations for how organizations can prevent and address sexual harassment in academic settings, specifically in science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more...


PROJECT SCOPE


The study scope included the following: 

  • Review of the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment on college and university campuses, in research labs and field sites; at hospitals/medical centers; and in other academic environments; 
  • Examination of existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers, with comparative evidence drawn from other sectors, such as the military, government, and the private sector. 
  • Identification and analysis of policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings. 

For purposes of this study, the definition of sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature, as well as those situations in which the work or study environment is made intimidating or offensive as a result of actions that are gender-based and that interfere with an individual’s academic or work performance, opportunities for advancement, and morale. 


SPONSORS


HHMI
Henry Luce Foundation
NASA
NIH
NIST
NOAA
NSF 
Burroughs Wellcome Fund