Sexual harassment, in all its forms from unwanted attention to insulting comments to bullying, whether intentional or subtle, is pervasive in society. And maybe more so in the science fields. Tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine’s Kelly Schwartz examines this unfortunate reality with her guest Erika Marin-Spiotta. Erika is a Professor of Geography at UW-Madison, and, thus, studies the geosciences, but also is a biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist. She admits that the geosciences are perhaps the least diverse science field, beginning with STEM. So, through her relationship with the Association for Women Geoscientists and the American Geophysical Union, she tackles gender diversity and minority discrimination. Therefore, Erika was the most logical person when the National Science Foundation began awarding grants for their ADVANCE Program to address sexual harassment.
Erika mentions that most men don’t even realize their behavior is having detrimental effects. She points to the systemic organizational structures of authority in the sciences that can perpetuate a “hostile environment” for sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying. And she brings up that victims often have extreme physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes that resemble trauma.
Also note that the picture above and the featured image is that of Erika Marin-Spiotta.