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Anthropologists Uncover Harrowing Statistics On Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

A majority of researchers have knowledge of, been victimized by, or have observed sexual harassment while conducting fieldwork, based on an online survey sample of 666 respondents just published in PLOS One by Kathryn B.H. Clancy (U Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), Robin G. Nelson (Skidmore College), Julienne N. Rutherford (U Illinois-Chicago), Katie Hinde (Harvard U) (Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault).

The study revealed that the majority of those targeted for harassment and assault were undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. In fact, “women trainees were disproportionately targeted for abuse, with women more often targeted by someone superior to them in the field site hierarchy. We worry this is at least one mechanism driving women from science,” said Dr. Clancy. Dr. Rutherford points out that “previous work by other researchers has shown that being targeted by one’s superior in the workplace has a more severe impact on psychological well-being and job performance than when the perpetrator is a peer, suggesting that women may be even more burdened than men by the phenomenon of workplace sexual aggression.”

In response to the team’s preliminary report at the April 2013 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) issued a statement declaring zero tolerance for sexual harassment in academic, professional, fieldwork or any other settings where our members work. While the AAA does not have adjudicatory authority over these matters, our Statement of Ethics: Code of Professional Responsibility sets out our clear expectation that anthropologists “…have a responsibility to maintain respectful relationships with others. In mentoring students, interacting with colleagues, working with clients, acting as a reviewer or evaluator, or supervising staff, anthropologists should comport themselves in ways that promote an equitable, supportive and sustainable workplace environment.” Dr. Nelson added, “In many instances, our participants reported a lack of knowledge regarding institutional policies or appropriate reporting channels when misconduct occurs. These results suggested that, in effect, many researchers were ill-equipped to advocate for themselves or others in cases of harassment or assault.”

The AAA has a long-term commitment to improving the status of women in anthropology, and maintains a standing Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology. The Committee is currently developing an educational initiative to better serve members, “Addressing Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in Anthropology.” Committee Chair, Dr. Jennifer Wies, Associate Professor at Eastern Kentucky University, is leading this initiative. “Anthropologists have been researching and responding to sexual violence and sexual harassment in the field and at home for decades. The continued emphasis on this issue reminds us of the importance of proactive and effective prevention efforts and intervention strategies,” said Wies in an interview earlier today. Dr. Hinde concludes, “The discussion that emerges from the results published in PLOS One today provides an opportunity for our professional communities to come together and effect solutions to improve the experiences of our trainees and colleagues.”

 

 

 

 

Insects-as-food Survey

AAA member, Julie Lesnik at the University of Illinois-Chicago is conducting a survey regarding insects-as-food. This survey is open to all researchers who may have observed the practice of eating insects by either a human population or nonhuman primate population. The goal of the survey is to 1) identify general global patterns, and 2) initiate the development of a global database of standardized scientific identifications and nutritional values.

Please go to http://www.entomoanthro.org/survey.html for more information and a link to the survey, or email Julie Lesnik at jlesnik{at}uic{dot}edu.

New Podcast! Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things – Matt Piscitelli

Listen to the new podcast in the series Ordinary Anthropologists Doing Extraordinary Things featuring AAA member, Matthew Piscitelli. Matthew has gotten creative with funding his next project.

Through my years of work as an archaeologist, I’ve always been amazed whenever I can hold something in my hand that no one has touched in the last 5,000 years.  Well, now I am asking your help to provide more such opportunities, and in the process, help preserve part of our global heritage.

I am currently applying for funding to support my archaeological dig in Peru this summer.  The results of the project will form the basis of my Ph.D. dissertation and eventually help me accomplish my goal of becoming a university professor.  I have had some success already applying to the National Geographic, my university (University of Illinois-Chicago), as well as my place of employment (The Field Museum).  I also have applications pending through the National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation.

During this process of application, however, I had an idea that definitely falls outside of the box.  In general, scientific projects in any field are funded through the government, private organizations or through a network of wealthy donors that are somehow already connected to those scientists.  The general public hardly ever hears of these projects, let alone gets the opportunity to support these important scientific endeavors.  With the popularity of social networking, a recently developed fundraising tactic known as “crowdfunding” is beginning to be used to back small-scale inventions, innovators, entrepreneurs, etc.  So I thought, “why can’t that work for scientific projects like my own?”

I have signed up through Peerbackers, a well-known and trusted website (Google it) in order to test run this strategy.  I ask you all to check out my project, offer words of encouragement, contribute (always well-appreciated), and most importantly, spread the word.  Please Tweet, post a link to my project on Facebook, forward this post to friends and family, etc.  Don’t hesitate to respond with questions and comments.  As with any Ph.D. student, I would be more than happy to talk to you about my research!

Are you interested in sharing your extraordinary in an upcoming podcast? Click here to learn how.

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