Yes cultural conditioning and work-life balance are important issues to explore. But many structural issues remain that hold women back, and in a field-based science like ours, we need to interrogate the field site as a professional space.
Note: 6 women and 1 man were not included in analysis because they declined to answer this question.
"I had no power to say 'that's not okay:'" Reports of harassment and abuse in the field
“I had no power to say ‘that’s not okay:’” Reports of harassment and abuse in the field Kathryn Clancy, University of Illinois Katie Hinde, Harvard Robin Nelson, UC-Riverside Julienne Rutherford, UI-Chicago
WHAT IF A FACTOR IN GENDERDISPARITIES IN SCIENCE IS A DENIAL OFOPPORTUNITY?
• Who gets targeted?• Who perpetrates harassment?• Who witnesses it?• How do individuals frame their experiences?• How do interpersonal relationships influence their experiences?• Do they identify cultural, structural, systemic issues? This is happening.
Web survey and phone interviews• Survey design: harassment literature• Web survey opened on February 21st• 42/124 respondents agreed to a follow-up phone interview; emailed a random half• N = 16 completed phone interviews
Participant demographics• Gender: 79% (N=98) 18.5% (N=23)• Race/Ethnicity: 86% white (N=107)• Country of Origin: 81% United States (N=101); 15 countries represented• Sexual Orientation: 85% heterosexual (N=106)• This limits our ability to explore or compare issues for non-white, non-straight respondents
“At your field site* how frequently have you observed or heardabout other researchers and colleagues making inappropriateor sexual remarks?”
“At your field site* how frequently have you observed or heardabout other researchers and colleagues making inappropriateor sexual remarks?”Chi-square= 0.22 p=0.99
“Have you ever personally experienced inappropriate or sexualremarks, comments about physical beauty, cognitive sexdifferences, or other jokes, at an anthropological field site?” 59% SAID “YES” (73/124) * WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? WOMEN EXPERIENCE HARASSMENT AT AHIGHER RATE THAN MEN 63% (62/98) vs. 39% (9/23) Chi-square =4.3, df=1, p=0.038, Odds Ratio: 2.7 95% CI [-0.97, -0.03]
“Have you ever personally experienced inappropriate or sexualremarks, comments about physical beauty, cognitive sexdifferences, or other jokes, at an anthropological field site?” 59% SAID “YES” (73/124) WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS?
“Have you ever experienced physical sexual harassment orunwanted sexual contact?” 18% SAID “YES” (21/120) WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? WOMEN EXPERIENCE HARASSMENT AT AHIGHER RATE THAN MEN 21% (20/97) vs. 5% (1/21)
“Have you ever experienced physical sexual harassment orunwanted sexual contact?” 18% SAID “YES” (21/120) WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS?
Framing: “There’s no way that I could be empowered”• “Young,” “naïve”• Questioned or blamed themselves at some point during harassment• Feelings of powerlessness and/or fear• Felt targeted/under additional scrutiny because of their gender• Frustration with interference with research
“As a man who was ambitious at the time anddidnt know how to intervene, it was a weirdplace to be because these are my friends. Wespent time in the field so you cant buildfriendships anywhere else and I was unableto, or paralyzed for fear that my dissertationwould be shut down. I relied on the site andaccess would be shut down, my career wouldhave been shut down, if I was going to stand upto this guy.”
Relationships: “Everybody knew what was going on”• Unequal distribution of tasks• Rank influences relationships• Women in power helped conditions
“So I talked to the director that night and he was askingme what I should do… because he has known this guyfor ten years… He was like, ‘in different cultures thatsnot abnormal.’ But I was like this is a violation….“He did talk to the guy he just said that he needed tostay away from me and… I dont know how much itworked…. Because at night wed have a fire… and hedstill find his way to come and sit next to me… and Idhave to tell him to stop, but I think I put the director ina weird position… especially since this was sort of ourliaison… if you piss him off and he stoppedcooperating, then we could have real problems.”
Climate: “If I had bruises on my body, you would believe me more”• Unclear power structure more harassment• Explicit comments that women are less capable than men at fieldwork• Challenges juggling cultural differences• “What happens in the field, stays in the field”
“It’s not like someone specifically says, ‘You’renot welcome here anymore.’ It’s just aconstant, subtle attitude that makes you feellike you don’t want to be there any more. Andthat made me really mad, too, that the ideathat someone could take something that Ithought would be great, and sort of take it awayfrom me and say, ‘Yeah, this isn’t for you. You’renot welcome here.’”
We need to stop prioritizing our research over our researchers• “I never thought anyone would take this seriously”• Code of conduct, legal action You should not have to “suck it up” in order to survive academia
• Thank you to the survey respondents and interviewees who shared their stories• Please fill out the survey and share: http://bit.ly/fieldexp13• #safe13 on Twitter• Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology: Mary Rogers, Catya Mesyef, Raia Hamad, Kim AndersonThe discipline that shines a light on these issues empowers others to do the same