A highly anticipated study from the United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington D.C. found that sexual harassment is rife throughout academic science in America and existing policies to address the issue are ineffective.
The behavior is driving talented scientists from their work, and the mechanisms in place to solve the problem are set up to protect the institutions rather than the victims. Paula Johnson, president of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, said: “The cumulative effect of sexual harassment is extremely damaging. It’s critical to move beyond the notion of legal compliance to really addressing culture.”
The report recommends the following: that research institutions act to reduce the power differential between students and faculty members; that the government should prohibit confidentiality in settlement agreements; and that research organizations treat sexual harassment as seriously as research misconduct.