If you are a woman in the workplace, it is very likely that you have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment or discrimination. However, a study recently revealed that women who work in certain scientific fields are far more likely to suffer unfair treatment. If you work in the sciences, it is crucial to stand up for justice in the workplace, not only for yourself but for those around you.
The issue came to prominence over the last year after a California representative spoke in the House about a report on harassment that she had come across concerning behavior within the astronomy department at the University of Arizona. While these particular allegations were somewhat surprising, the scientific community as a whole does not enjoy a very strong track record of fair, appropriate treatment women who work in scientific fields.
The reality of the matter is that being a scientifically-minded person (and theoretically reasonable human being) does not remotely preclude someone from shocking levels of sexism. In fact, the community has suffered from this issue for many years, even in the highest ranks. While it is good to see the problem dragged out into the light, it also creates some other issues.
In 2017, the scientific community is under greater scrutiny than it has seen in many years, and a great wave of anti-intellectualism has swept across the country. When news of rampant sexism within a scientific field makes the news, it weakens the entire field.
If you are a woman working in a scientific field, you face a very difficult task. Of course, you want to avoid tearing down the field that you love and handing ammunition to those who would subjugate its validity. On the other hand, sexual discrimination should not ever be tolerated in any workplace, and you have an obligation to stand up for justice for yourself and other women in the sciences.
The good news is that you do not have to do this alone. An experienced attorney can help you craft a careful strategy to fight sexism that has no place in the scientific community while protecting the sanctity of science as a practice.
Source: Think Progress, “New study confirms widespread reports of science’s sexual harassment problem,” Laurel Raymond, July 11, 2017