970 Best Practices for Preventing Harassment in Atmospheric Science: Leveraging the WE-CAN Field-Campaign Network for Collaborative Change

Wednesday, 9 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Brittany Bloodhart, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and E. Fischer and K. L. Rasmussen

Sexual harassment has been studied extensively in workplaces and academia, but very little research has focused on this problem in field settings, which are a common and important part of most geoscience research. Working in the field is unique because it occurs outside the “typical” office or lab space, can be very remote, and may add additional safety concerns, such as being far from social and legal support services. Those in low-power positions (e.g., graduate students and postdocs) may be particularly vulnerable to harassment from those in positions of leadership (senior faculty and PIs). The scant data on experiences of sexual harassment in field sites indicates that sexual harassment policies are not communicated or enforced, harassment is common, particularly toward junior women by senior men, and targets of harassment are unaware of reporting mechanisms. Given that over half of women in the geosciences have reported experiencing harassment during their careers, it is vital that the atmospheric science community examines and addresses this issue in field settings.

This project implemented and studied sexual harassment training, awareness, and experiences during the WE-CAN field campaign to better understand and mitigate negative gender-based harassment in the field. Drawing on materials developed by ADVANCEgeo, members of the WE-CAN campaign (researchers, technicians, staff) participated in a workshop to identify and address harassment that was followed-up throughout the campaign with articles and discussion forums. Social science surveys were sent to all members before, during, and after the campaign, to document attitudes, beliefs, and experiences with harassment in both field and office settings. The talk will present findings about attitudes and experiences of harassment in the field, and will conclude with a discussion around creating a practical guide for the geoscience community to facilitate collaborative change around sexual harassment within major field campaign networks.

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