publication date: Jun. 15, 2018

Change in culture needed to prevent sexual harassment at academic institutions, NASEM says

By Matthew Bin Han Ong

To prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment of women, institutions of higher education need to promote a system-wide change to the culture and climate on campus, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

There is no evidence that current policies, procedures, and approaches—which often focus on symbolic compliance with the law and on avoiding liability—have resulted in a significant reduction in sexual harassment, according to the Committee on the Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia, in the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The report, which examines sexual harassment of women in academic sciences, engineering, and medicine, concludes that the cumulative result of sexual harassment is significant damage to research integrity and a costly loss of talent in these academic fields. Institutions should consider sexual harassment equally important as research misconduct in terms of its effect on the integrity of research, NASEM said.

“This report publicizes and formalizes what many women and others who have been mistreated in scientific fields have known for a long time: harassment is the norm,” said Kelly Folkers, a research associate at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine. “The action plans for institutions are positive steps forward in supporting and elevating the status of women in science.”

A guest editorial by Folkers, “Beyond #MeToo: Sexual Harassment in Biomedicine,” is posted here.

The NASEM study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, … Continue reading Change in culture needed to prevent sexual harassment at academic institutions, NASEM says

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