A shocking study performed by the University of Illinois, Harvard, and Skidmore College, determined that over two-thirds of female scientists have reported being sexually harassed at work. The educational institutions surveyed 666 women in the field, including archaeologists and anthropologists. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Our NYC sexual harassment lawyers were appalled by these startling findings:

  • 71 percent of female scientists report being sexually harassed on the job
  • 26 percent of women scientists report being sexually assaulted while at work
  • In most cases, the harassers or assaulters were the employees’ superiors
  • In almost half the cases, the victims were new to the field

The types of harassment ranged from inappropriate sexual remarks to sexist jokes to unwanted sexual contact.

Unfortunately, most workers didn’t attempt to report the misconduct to higher-ups or a Human Resources representative. The women who did pursue a sexual harassment claim were overwhelmingly disappointed by how the charges were handled.

“People are being told ‘what happens in the field stays in the field,’” said Dr. Kathryn Clancy, lead researcher on the project.
One anonymous scientist recalled her experience doing fieldwork in a foreign country, stating:

“My professor often joked that only pretty women were allowed to work for him…. He asked very personal questions about my romantic life, often in the presence of the male students. Pornographic photos appeared daily in my private workspace. What started out as seemingly harmless joking spiraled out of control. I felt marginalized and under attack, and my work performance suffered as a result.”

The study does have its limitations: the sample size taken was relatively small and the participants were comprised of volunteers, who might have been biased. However, the study’s researchers hope the results will increase awareness regarding sexual harassment amongst researchers, scientists, and other academics.

The NYC sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group urge victims to come forward if they have been subjected to abuse on the job.
The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 for a free consultation.