Wakeup call: Pervasiveness of sexual harassment and its effect on female physics students

phys.org | 3/15/2019 | Staff
jacensolo775 (Posted by) Level 3
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A survey of 471 undergraduate women who attended the 2017 American Physical Society's Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) revealed that sexual harassment in physics is insidious and experienced at a significantly higher rate than is generally acknowledged. Nearly three-quarters of respondents had experienced sexual harassment in their physics programs in the last two years.

The study also found that gender harassment, one type of sexual harassment, is correlated with two harmful psychological patterns: a diminished sense of belonging and the imposter phenomenon (a persistent, unjustified feeling of being someone who is undeserving of their accomplishments). These patterns, according to earlier research, negatively influence students' persistence in STEM fields.

Harassment - Fields - Physics - Field - STEM

Because sexual harassment occurs more frequently in male-dominated fields and physics is a more male-dominated field than most other STEM fields, the researchers found it important to examine the occurrence and impact of sexual harassment on women in physics.

"I wanted to quantify the scope of sexual harassment in physics to enable productive discussions that extend beyond personal anecdotes," explains author Lauren Aycock. "This study increases the visibility of the problem without relying on women who have experienced sexual harassment to tell their stories."

Study - Considers - Harassment - Distinct - Dimensions

The study considers sexual harassment as encompassing three distinct but related dimensions: sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and gender harassment. The survey...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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