Sexual Harassment in Engineering
Welcome by Alec D. Gallimore, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, U-M
- Gilda A. Barabino*, Dean of the Grove School of Engineering, City College of New York
- Alec D. Gallimore, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, U-M
- Allison Steiner, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, U-M
Report Summary & Moderation:
- Lilia Cortina,* Associate Director of ADVANCE for the College of LSA; Professor of Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Management and Organizations, U-M
- Anna Kirkland,* Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Women’s Studies, U-M
*National Academies committee member and report co-author
In 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assembled a committee to conduct a study on the impact of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. The committee published a comprehensive report titled, "Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine," in June 2018. Three University of Michigan faculty members served as panel members on this report: Prof. Lilia Cortina (Psychology and Women’s Studies), Prof. Anna Kirkland (Women’s Studies), and Prof. Timothy Johnson (Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Studies). The report identifies key findings on the causes and impacts of sexual harassment, and recommendations for institutional policies, strategies, and practices to address and prevent it.
Preventing and effectively addressing sexual harassment of women in colleges and universities has remained a challenge for decades. More than half of women faculty and staff report having been harassed. Student surveys of university systems show disturbingly similar rates, with 20–50% of women students experiencing sexually harassing behavior perpetrated by faculty or staff.
Persistent sexual harassment in STEM fields, and its adverse impacts on women’s careers, jeopardizes progress in closing the gender gap, damages research integrity, and results in a costly loss of talent. Academic sciences, engineering, and medicine share characteristics that create conditions for harassment, but many findings of the report are not limited to STEM field settings. Other fields within academia can be similarly male-dominated, hierarchical work and learning settings in which abusive cultures may form. Such environments can silence and limit the career opportunities for both the targets of the sexual harassment and bystanders, causing both men and women to leave their fields.
The panel will include a summary of the report, discussion from the report’s co-authors, commentary from disciplinary experts, and Q&A with the audience.
The panel will offer broad discussion of use to any member of the university community or the public interested in sexual harassment in academia. A reception will follow.