Giving Compass' Take:

• A new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine highlights how academia has failed to address sexual harassment, hurting women and the fields they contribute to. It also identifies key steps that can work to remedy the situation.

• How can your resources be leveraged to fight sexual harassment? 

• Learn how to fund gender equality

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently published a report titled “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” Many news outlets, scientists and other experts have written about the report, highlighting the prevalence of sexual harassment and need for institutional action.

Even after reading every single related news article, however, it is still worth reading the 300-plus page report in its entirety, including the appendices with stories of women and their lived experiences with harassment. The report lays out why academia is fundamentally broken and incapable of dealing with harassment; if we are to be truly committed to rooting out harassment and welcoming people from all backgrounds in STEM, the system needs a complete overhaul. No amount of “diversity” initiatives and studies on understanding why women and girls choose not to stay in STEM fields will make a real difference if we do not remove the rot from academic institutions.

The report was authored by experts in fields including anthropology, psychology, psychiatry and gender studies. It makes a compelling and comprehensive case on the scope of the problem, the impact on women in science, and the reasons academia has failed in addressing harassment. It also lays out comprehensive solutions at every level.

As a start, let us all think about how we can help implement the 15 recommendations in the report, ranging from individual actions to federal policies. Among the most important, which address the need for deep institutional change:

  • We need to change individual attitudes and behaviors.
  • We must hold institutions accountable for their policies.
  • We need to fix Title IX offices.
  • We must advocate for legislative action, at the state and federal levels.
  • We must continue to push federal agencies and scientific societies to treat sexual harassment as scientific misconduct.

Read the full article about sexual harassment in acedmia at Scientific American.