Recently, a leading scientist studying the fundamental structure of the universe turned the lens on her own profession. The world of science is just as prone to sexual harassment as any other sphere or industry. In fact, the academic workplace has the second highest rate of sexual harassment of all the fields studied.
The proposal currently before Congress, the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018, hopes to study the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. One male scientist argued against the prevalence of sexual harassment, saying that physics is not sexist toward women. His comments were blasted in a petition signed by women scientists who knew the truth from personal experience.
The Most Common Forms of Harassment
The National Academies of Sciences lists top four findings about sexual harassment in science:
- It is common. One-fifth of female undergraduate and graduate science students admit to being victimized, which is more than a quarter of female engineering students, and nearly half of female medical students.
- Women of color and LGBTQ women suffer the most. The most vulnerable are women who fall into more than one of these categories.
- The most common forms of harassment are lewd jokes and degrading comments that make women feel second-class or outside the circle of power.
- Abuse continues beyond the event. It keeps qualified women from rising in their respective fields and causes many women to leave promising careers because they are not treated with respect. When science is denied input from some of its best talents, science itself suffers.
Harassment Begins with Male Presumption
The University of California, Berkeley found that a well-regarded astronomer faculty member had violated sexual harassment policies. This astronomer, once considered for a Nobel Prize, was a star in identifying planets that were like Earth in other solar systems. The professor denied some charges, but publicly apologized for making mistakes.
A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) showed that 58 percent of women professionals in science and academia have experienced sexual harassment in their work. In addition, the study showed that women of color and people in sexual and gender minorities experience sexual harassment more commonly in their duties.
The most common type of sexual harassment takes simpler and subtler forms than sexual coercion that amount to harassment, such as verbal hostility, nonverbal hostility, crude behavior, social exclusion, career limitation, and simple contempt. Because they do not register as sexual harassment or simple annoyances, women internalize the insults. They accept them as the price women pay for their careers. In fact, these actions violate state and federal laws against sexual harassment. In the Philadelphia area, skilled sexual harassment lawyers can help combat discrimination.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Seek Rightful Compensation for Victims
If you feel you have been the victim of sexual harassment or an unhealthy work environment, talk to the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout New Jersey.