You might think that an industry filled with highly intelligent individuals know better than to commit acts of sexual harassment toward their colleagues and subordinates, but a study showed that it might be the exact opposite.
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s comprehensive research recommended different ways to solve the problem.
Companies should also invest in employment law courses for HR professionals to help in reducing the incidence of harassment, despite some laws that tend to favor perpetrators instead of victims.
Settlement deals should not protect sexual harassment offenders with confidentiality, according to the study. In this way, future employers would be aware of their previous work history.
Academic institutions should also do their part by treating sexual harassment as an equally offensive act as research misconduct.
The study cited three most common types of harassment that target the person’s gender, which then serves as a way for perpetrators to coerce their victims sexually and provide them with unwanted sexual attention.
Women are more likely to suffer from the three types of workplace harassment than men in the US. It’s also surprising that the academia has the second highest rate of sexual harassment at 58%. The military sector has the highest rate of 69%.
Females of a different race or color face more risk of being sexually harassed, along with those from other minority groups. While men may also suffer from sexual harassment, the chances are significantly lower than women.
Paula Johnson, the study’s co-author, said that this stems from a long-standing belief of some people that “women do not belong in the workplace or do not merit respect.”
Workplace harassment in the science, engineering and medicine industries has driven many skilled researchers to find work elsewhere, which could be detrimental to the broader sector. How do you prevent sexual harassment in your institution?