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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Issues Study on Sexual Harassment

A study was recently conducted by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Science Engineering and Medicine (CWSEM) on the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce.
The study revealed that more than half of women in academia have experienced some form of harassment. The most pervasive issue was the “perceived tolerance for sexual harassment in academia which is the most potent predictor of sexual harassment occurring in an organization.” In short, the organizational climate. An intolerant climate that includes support and protection for complainants and fair and timely investigations are key factors in developing a culture of understanding that sexual harassment is taken seriously and unacceptable under any circumstances. The foundation for a respectful workplace is employees understanding that their organization takes harassment seriously, then harassment is less likely to happen.
The study found the second most potent predictor of harassment is whether the men outnumber the women in an organization, especially in highly visible leadership roles. The preponderance of men in high level, influential roles is often seen in male-dominated technology and finance sectors.
The committee also made several recommendations including the creation of diverse, respectful and inclusive environments. The cornerstone of this recommendation is a commitment by leadership and training that is focused on changing behavior – not beliefs.