New Study Reveals Half of Women in Science Experience Sexual Harassment


Posted by: Chris

Sexual harassment was placed in the national spotlight last year after allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood figures surfaced. However, the entertainment industry is not the only one that has a sexual harassment problem. A new study reveals that half of women who work in science experience sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment in Science Statistics

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reviewed decades of research and interviewed numerous sexual harassment victims in order to gather information for this report. The researchers found that more than 50% of female faculty and staff have experienced sexual harassment during their careers. In addition, the researchers concluded that between 20-50% of female students in these fields also encountered sexual harassment.

Some students and faculty members were more likely to experience sexual harassment than others. Out of these groups, female medical students were the most likely to be sexually harassed. Women of color and women in the LGBTQ community were also more likely to experience sexual harassment than straight, white females.

The Effects of Sexual Harassment

Science is a male-dominated field. In fact, it is estimated that women hold less than one-quarter of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and medicine. The underrepresentation of women in STEM fields could be partly due to the prevalence of sexual harassment. Why? Many women change careers after being sexually harassed. Some of these women choose a new career path because they no longer want to subject themselves to sexual harassment at work or encounter the people who harassed them. It’s also common for women to experience psychological trauma as a result of the harassment. This can affect the victim’s ability to work, especially in one of these difficult fields, and leave them with no other choice but to change careers.

Stopping Sexual Harassment in Science

The American Geophysical Union (AGU), which is a large scientific society, recently took a stand against sexual harassment. The AGU revised its policies so sexual harassment is treated in the same manner as scientific misconduct such as plagiarism or data fabrication. As a result, sexual harassers could be banned from publishing or presenting their research, which would negatively impact their careers. Experts believe that this policy will greatly reduce the number of sexual harassment incidents within the AGU organization. Hopefully, more scientific societies will follow AGU’s lead and implement similar policies.   

If you have been sexually harassed, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our skilled attorneys have years of experience helping sexual harassment victims seek justice against their employers and recover the compensation they deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.