i joined this forum to draw particular attention to the ad for positions at the Cal Academy because I am told that they would particularly like to recruit talented women, however I just thought of some discussions I've had over the last few weeks about harassment in the field. I didn't see any posts about the PLOS One article last year http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.01..., so perhaps the astrobiology community is immune to this one, but I was curious about your experiences.
As a woman in oceanography, this is a topic that is very, very important to me. I've spoken to other women oceanographers who say that the numbers reported in this PLoS article are, most likely, underreported. Harassment in the field is a huge problem-- the majority of women I've spoken to have either experienced it or have heard of it happening-- and is indeed usually conducted by men more senior to the victims. I have rarely, if ever, been informed of official policies regarding harassment and reporting at the start of a cruise by either the captain or the chief scientist, and I think this would play a crucial role in preventing these occurrences. I think it's not something that the captains or chief scientists (chiefly men) often prioritize-- but in my discussions with other women oceanographers who have had positive experiences on cruises, they've said that the sexual harassment policies were communicated early and effectively in the cruise, and that the whole environment of the cruise afterwards felt much safer and more welcoming.
Melissa, thanks so much for initiating this important conversation! Our college at Georgia Tech has organized two seminars & also hosted the first author on that paper to speak about it. Also initiating codes of conducts for field work. So we ARE taking notice.
I have lots more to say about this topic but for now I will just post this blog that has me highly concerned about the psychological and physical safety of women, particularly young women, working at KSC VC...
P.S. Sadly silence almost certainly doesn't mean immunity but rather that the community doesn't feel safe talking about this or is too crazy busy in the rat race to comment!!! It's certainly still happening & women in our community need to do a better job of supporting each other & communicating to administrators that we need stronger policies for prevention. I shared this forum on FB & Twitter... hopefully we have more comments on this important topic....
I think it's much needed to have continued discussions with faculty and students regarding overt and covert sexual harassment. I have seen historically male dominated departments, where older faculty didn't appear to think twice about using sexual references in lectures. I worked in the energy industry for a few years prior to graduate school and was astonished by the good old boy demeanor that permeated academia. Students in our department dealt with the subtle harassment and inappropriate comments as they felt they couldn't get administration to listen, care, believe them and felt like the fight wasn't worth their time, not to mention the thought of having precious funding potentially revoked. When they did finish their programs, a harassment case was the last thing they wanted to deal with. It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge and report inappropriate behavior coming from respected and esteemed professors. Thank goodness for the Advance Grant, things are slowly starting to change. In the meantime, I'll stick to the mantra being "the solution is dilution".
A new article today, https://eos.org/opinions/gender-diversity-cryosphere-science-awards... "whether the number of accolades given to women reflects the demographics of scientists within the field, from students to senior researchers". Anecdotal data supports the paucity of awards to women and minorities.