U-M Faculty Serve on National Committee to Study Sexual Harassment in the Academy

image of storm clouds over the ocean, with text reading "Study on the Impact of Sexual Harassment in Academia"
image of storm clouds over the ocean, with text reading "Study on the Impact of Sexual Harassment in Academia"

Three Women’s Studies faculty members are proving the University of Michigan is leading the national conversation on sexual harassment research.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has 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.

Serving on the committee of twenty one experts are three U-M faculty: Lilia Cortina, Professor of Psychology, Women's Studies, and Management and Organizations, and Associate Director of ADVANCE for the College of LS&A; Tim Johnson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Bates Professor of the Diseases of Women and Children, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Professor of Women's Studies, and Research Professor, Center for Human Growth and Development; and Anna Kirkland, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Political Science, and Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. The committee is led by Paula Johnson, President of Wellesley College, and Sheila Widnall of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The committee includes scientists from a range of STEM disciplines, social scientists, and leaders on diversity and gender issues from the private sector.

“Sexual harassment remains today the most pervasive form of gendered violence, encompassing everything from subtle sexism and misogyny to unwanted sexual attention to sexual assault,” explains Professor Cortina.  “It is an honor to serve on this National Academies Committee, studying this problem as it manifests in the unique contexts of science, engineering, and medicine.”

Over the next year, the committee will review existing research on the rates of incidence and negative impacts of sexual harassment towards women on college and university campuses, research labs, field sites, hospitals and medical centers. Attention will be paid to the negative impacts on recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in science, technology, engineering and medicine, as compared to other sectors, such as military, government, and industry.

The study will include a review and analysis of policies, strategies and practices that have been identified as successfully preventing and addressing sexual harassment in academic settings. A comprehensive report with recommendations is expected in Summer 2018.

More information. #SHSTEMstudy

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