Double jeopardy in astronomy and planetary science: Women of color face greater risks of gendered and racial harassment

Kathryn B.H. Clancy, Katharine M.N. Lee, Erica M. Rodgers, Christina Richey

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

Women generally, and women of color specifically, have reported hostile workplace experiences in astronomy and related fields for some time. However, little is known of the extent to which individuals in these disciplines experience inappropriate remarks, harassment, and assault. We hypothesized that the multiple marginality of women of color would mean that they would experience a higher frequency of inappropriate remarks, harassment, and assault in the astronomical and planetary science workplace. We conducted an internet-based survey of the workplace experiences of 474 astronomers and planetary scientists between 2011 and 2015 and found support for this hypothesis. In this sample, in nearly every significant finding, women of color experienced the highest rates of negative workplace experiences, including harassment and assault. Further, 40% of women of color reported feeling unsafe in the workplace as a result of their gender or sex, and 28% of women of color reported feeling unsafe as a result of their race. Finally, 18% of women of color, and 12% of white women, skipped professional events because they did not feel safe attending, identifying a significant loss of career opportunities due to a hostile climate. Our results suggest that the astronomy and planetary science community needs to address the experiences of women of color and white women as they move forward in their efforts to create an inclusive workplace for all scientists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1623
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Volume122
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

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Keywords

  • astronomy
  • gender
  • harassment
  • planetary science
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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