CE Hours: 1.5

Seq# 259 - Harassment in Science: Steps to No-tolerance

Women academic attrition has been attributed to tenure policies and procedures, work/life balance, economic inequality as well as academic climate hostility and incivility (Beyond Bias and Barriers Report). Sexual harassment has been implicated in the creation of a negative academic climate. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1980) defined sexual harassment as not only unwelcome sexual advances but also offensive remarks about a person’s sex, which are “used either explicitly or implicitly [as] a term or condition of employment”. Following the legal case at Cornell University (1975), sexual harassment was legally recognized and linked to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as a result of the grassroots feminist movement.

In biomedical science, 52% of women as compared to 5% of men faculty reported harassment in their careers. Moreover, in a recent K-awardee survey, almost 66% of women reported some type of gender bias in their professional advancement, while 30% of them experienced sexual harassment. Students also experience harassment during their professional educational training from peers, faculty and patients.

Following the NIH recommendations on harassment (NOT-OD-15-152), many scientific organizations and publishers (including Science and Nature) have revised harassment prevention practices with the goal to create a safe, civil and productive scientific environment advocating for a “no-tolerance” policy. As women have overcome the personal and institutional barriers to break their silence (#MeToo campaign) in a variety of industries, this symposium aims to systematically examine the prevalence of sexual harassment in higher education as well as practices and policies related to harassment in oral health and craniofacial institutions aiming at harassment prevention and a culture shift towards no tolerance.

Learning Objectives:

  • To define workplace sexual harassment, review its history and assess its prevalence
  • To assess academic policies and practices for the creation of a civil and safe climate.
  • To propose steps to prevention and culture shifts towards no tolerance