Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Environmental Sciences

Erika Marín-Spiotta, an associate professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is partnering with scientific societies and geoscience faculty colleagues from colleges and universities across the country to develop sexual harassment bystander intervention training for the earth, space and environmental sciences.

Dr. Marín-Spiotta says the project was motivated by the overall lack of representation of women in STEM disciplines and the increasing recognition of the hostile environment many women face in their studies and jobs. Women receive 39 percent of undergraduate degrees in the earth, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, yet make up only 20 percent of geoscience faculty, and even fewer at the full professor level.

A primary goal of the project is to improve work climate conditions and increase gender equity in the geosciences by developing bystander intervention workshops for department heads, chairs and faculty to appropriately respond to, prevent and eliminate sexual harassment.

“As educators and science professionals, it is our responsibility to provide learning and working spaces where people are treated with dignity. It is time for our community to realize harassment is a problem and to not continue to overlook and condone this behavior,” Dr. Marín-Spiotta says. “By working with university and professional society leadership, we aim to empower people to step in, speak up, prevent and stop harassment.”

Dr. Marín-Spiotta is a graduate of Stanford University, where she majored in biology. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.


Filed Under: Sexual Assault/HarassmentSTEM Fields


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