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Deal with Harassment and Show It

July 2019

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the US published a comprehensive report on “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine”. The report is part of the series of Consensus Study Reports, which documents evidence-based consensus brought together by a group of experts. The evidence on sexual harassment and its impact on those involved as discussed in the report is indeed impressive. It looks at jobs and health impact, legal and policy issues, as well as ways to change the climate and culture of the organisations involved.

The report shows that the academy holds second place – after the military – in terms of highest incidences of sexually harassing behavior. The categories are sexual harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion.

According to the report, a workplace climate may be seen as intolerant of sexual harassment when:

  • targets are supported and protected;
  • instances of harassment are investigated fairly and in a timely way—with due process for both targets and alleged harassers;
  • those found to have committed harassment are punished appropriately;
  • and the campus community is regularly informed about how the institution is handling/attending to claims and disciplining those who have violated policies.

The last condition is one that many universities in Europe will struggle with.

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