Sexual Harassment Survey of Attendees of American Association of Political Science Conventions

American Association of Political Science ConventionsA new study published by the American Political Science Association examines the prevalence of sexual harassment at the annual meetings of the association. Researchers surveyed the entire membership of the organization of more than 13,000 individuals on how they had been treated at the annual meetings of organization from 2013 to 2016.

The results showed that 51 percent of the women respondents reported that they had not been subjected to any form of harassment or condescending behavior at an annual meeting. But this means that nearly half of all respondents had a negative experience. Some 42 percent of women respondents said that they had experienced put downs or condescending behavior from other attendees. Nearly a third of women respondents said that they had been subjected to inappropriate language or had been stared at, leered at, or ogled in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. Some 11 percent of the respondents stated that they had been exposed to inappropriate sexual advances or touching.

The study states that 29 members reported that they had experienced threats of professional retaliation for not being sexually cooperative. More than 40 members reported that they had been offered bribes for professional advances if they were sexually cooperative.

One woman respondent stated that “being a young woman scholar at APSA is often exhausting. The harassment is nearly constant, from men who stare at your chest rather than your eyes while you’re speaking to explicit propositioning after a few drinks at a reception, with the strong implication that saying ‘yes’ will lead to career opportunities.”

The report is co-authored by David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame and Virginia Sapiro of Boston University. Dr. Sapiro is a professor of political science at Boston University. She is a graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she majored in government. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. Before joining the faculty at Boston University, Dr. Sapiro was the Sophonisba P. Breckinridge Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Women in American Society: An Introduction to Women’s Studies (McGraw-Hill, 5th edition, 2003).

The full study, “Report on the 2017 APSA Survey on Sexual Harassment at Annual Meetings,” may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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