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Diversity and inclusion

Astronomer survey reveals gender and racial harassment

11 Jul 2017 Michael Banks
Study authors: Kate Clancy, Katherine Lee, Erica Rodgers and Christina Richey


Almost 10% of people working in US astronomy have suffered from physical harassment at work, according to a survey carried out by researchers in the US. Led by Kathryn Clancy, a social scientist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the survey asked 423 students, academics and administrators 39 questions about their working environment.

Around 88% of respondents reported hearing, experiencing or witnessing negative language or harassment that was related to race or gender. The survey also found that 39% of respondents were verbally harassed and that 40% of non-white female respondents said that they felt unsafe at work as a result of their race and gender.

Clancy’s co-authors on the study are Illinois social scientist Katherine Lee, astrophysicist Erica Rodgers of the Space Science Institute in Colorado, and Christina Richey, who is a planetary scientist at the American Astronomical Society.

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