By Ethan Baron
The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new report reveals that despite a concerted effort to attract women into science, engineering and medicine jobs, and retain them, “it appears women are often bullied or harassed out of career pathways in these fields.”
The Mercury News
The friends we meet along the way may help us enjoy the journey, as they say, but for many college women traveling the educational pipeline toward careers in engineering, science and medicine, the awful men they meet along the way make them cut the journey short.
That’s the conclusion of a just-released report that said despite large amounts of money and energy spent to attract women into science, engineering and medicine jobs, and retain them, “it appears women are often bullied or harassed out of career pathways in these fields.”
The report lands as the #MeToo movement against male mistreatment of women engulfs the nation, and Silicon Valley reels from case after case of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the tech industry.
In the report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, the researchers lay out three categories of sexual harassment: actions that “convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender;” unwanted sexual attention; and “sexual coercion” that involves favorable treatment in exchange for sexual activity.
Why is this a particular problem in engineering, science and medicine? Higher education is male-dominated, “with men in most positions of power and authority,” according to the report. And in post-secondary education, sexual harassment is tolerated, the report said. Also, higher ed is structured in a “patriarchal” fashion, with “very dependent” relationships between teachers and students. Finally, work and training in academia, especially in the fields in question, often takes place in “isolating environments.”
The research targeted female college and university students, as well as academic researchers and faculty members.