STAT – Sexual harassment takes a significant toll on women in academic science and medicine — and there’s no evidence that current policies are significantly helping to stem the issue, according to a sweeping new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The report is the product of two years of research into the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment in university and college settings. It found sexual harassment in academia is significantly more common among engineering and medical students than students in non-STEM fields. In one survey, nearly half of female medical students said they had been harassed by faculty or staff.
“Most of that harassment is not the Harvey Weinstein harassment. It’s the everyday put-downs, and exclusions, and belittlings. It’s all of the ways of making women feel unwelcome,” said Kathryn Clancy, a member of the committee that produced the report and a University of Illinois anthropologist who has studied sexual harassment in science.
Victims interviewed for the report said they had skipped professional meetings and social situations, dropped out of research projects, and left jobs, just to avoid harassment. They described being mortified, devastated, and outraged in some cases. Many didn’t formally report their harassment, often for fear of retaliation. And some who did said the drawn-out proceedings drained them of precious time and energy to do their work.
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