Women in the Sciences Report Harassment and Assault

July 24, 2014 7:53 PM

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Women in the Sciences Report Harassment and Assault

We, like many other scientists, had heard the stories, shared via email, on blogs, whispered in the corners of hotel conference rooms. Harrowing stories of sexual harassment and assault during one of the most important stages of professionalization in the sciences: fieldwork. Fieldwork is critical to learning the ropes and gathering the data that makes possible the expansion of knowledge in anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, biology, ecology, geology, oceanography, sociology, and many, many other fields of inquiry. We set out to explore more deeply the pervasiveness of these experiences and the results we published in PLOS ONE on July 16, 2014 are a sobering wake-up call.

Building on a preliminary study conducted in 2013 that was inspired by Kate Clancy's efforts in her Scientific American blog, we surveyed a total of 666 respondents, both men and women from 30 countries, and found that harassment and assault were common occurrences. Indeed, when asked to describe th...

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