Young Women Scientists Face Sexual Harassments While Working on Scientific Field: Study Says

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 21, 2014 2:57 PM EST

Women of today are known to be successful in every career they decide to take up; pursuing science is no exception either.

"According to a report by The Washington Post, bright young women scientists are being regularly harassed, mostly sexually while doing field work critical for their research. Unfortunately enough in most of the cases, supervisors are found to be the main culprits."

Reuters
A model has her makeup done backstage before presenting the Vena Cava Fall 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week February 11, 2010.

This study analysed data from 142 men and 516 women with experience working in anthropology, archaeology, geology and other scientific disciplines and got published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The report suggests that 64 percent of the participants admitted that they survived sexual harassment and 20 percent claimed to be the victims of sexual assault.

According to the Researchers younger women were particularly at higher risk while working in the field.

“Our main findings – that women trainees were disproportionately targeted for abuse and felt they had few avenues to report or resolve these problems – suggest that at least some field sites are not safe, nor inclusive,” Kate Clancy, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

In this study, the participants were recruited through social media and with the help of Web sites serving scientific disciplines involving field research. Undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (all described as "trainees") were at maximum risk to be at the receiving end.

"Over 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men were trainees or employees at the time that they were targeted. Five of the trainees who reported harassment were in high school at the time of the incident," the researchers noted.

Much awareness and proper institutional policies are required to have a better grip over this unfortunate situation.

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(Photo: Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi)
A model has her makeup done backstage before presenting the Vena Cava Fall 2010 collection during New York Fashion Week February 11, 2010.
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