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Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Geoscience Faculty and Researchers to Respond

published Nov 15, 2016 8:43am

Thank you to NAGT members Kristen St. John, Eric Riggs, and Dave Mogk on writing the recent JGE editorial Sexual Harassment in the Sciences: A Call to Geoscience Faculty and Researchers to Respond based on the goals of the (NSF)-funded workshop: Sexual Harassment in the Sciences - A Call to Respond. The authors share their reflections on points from the workshop and results from recent studies that particularly resonated and have implications for geoscience education and geoscience education researchers.

From the editorial:

In September 2016 the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the Association of Women Geoscientists (AWG), the Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN), and the American Chemical Society (ACS) convened a 1-day workshop on Sexual Harassment in the Sciences - A Call to Respond.

The goal of this National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded workshop was to generate common principles and identify resources, and best practices to address the challenges of sexual and gender-based harassment on campus, in the field, and at scientific meetings. The workshop was powerful and informative. It brought together 60 scientists (many were geoscientists) from academia, government, and professional societies. Perspectives from victims of sexual harassment, legal professionals, and social science researchers set the stage for discussions on the challenges of, and potential countermeasures to, sexual harassment and assault in academia. We encourage you to read the press releases of the workshop outcomes and Wendel 2016, as well a resource page on sexual harassment developed by AGU.

Ultimately the workshop's impact will be measured by community-wide recognition of the scope of the problem and the development and adherence to a code of behavior that puts respect, responsibility, equality, and professionalism at its core. As participants in the workshop and active members of NAGT we feel compelled to extend the conversation that was started at the workshop to include members of NAGT, geoscience educators, and geoscience education researchers. Our goal is to provide starting points for conversations that we hope readers will initiate with their colleagues and students on the scope, challenges, and countermeasures to sexual harassment in the sciences.

To that end, we share our reflections on points from the workshop and results from recent studies that particularly resonated with us and that we think have implications for geoscience education and geoscience education researchers." We all have an obligation to act affirmatively when unprofessional behaviors arise—for the good of the scientists with whom we work, for the good of the students for whom we are role models, and for the good of our scientific profession."

Please read the entire editorial for information on how sexual harassment impacts science careers, the need for further research, how to address unprofessional behavior in our community, and consequences and actions to move forward. We hope you are an NAGT member but if you are not or would like to share this editorial, we have provided open access to this important call to action because "everyone has the right to a safe, secure, and productive work and learning environment."