Episode 78: Unpacking Sexual Harassment

When we were called in to dinner he gave my ass an almighty smack and said, ‘Come on, you tart!’
— Broad Experience listener via email
To the extent that we still have this misinformation going around about what sexual harassment is and how serious it is...we will continue to turn a blind eye to it.
— Jennifer Berdahl

In this show we look at what really motivates sexual harassment, and what we can do about it. We hear a listener's story that sounds like something from an episode of Mad Men. And we find out why academia has such a persistent problem with professor/student harassment, particularly in the sciences.

My guest is Jennifer Berdahl of the University of British Columbia (above), who studies sexual harassment and power and status in the workplace. 

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Further reading: This is the op-ed I mentioned in the show, written by a female scientist harassed by a well known professor 30 years older than her. The man was found to be at fault, but he was not punished, and his university asked her to keep the whole thing confidential. 

Nature also wrote an editorial decrying academia's lackluster attitude to punishing harassers.

Here's a New York Times piece on a recent case at the University of Chicago and another on a case at Yale Medical School.

The Mask You Live In is the film I mentioned at the end of the show. I saw it at a screening in New York Last Year. See it if you can.

I produced an earlier episode of the show called Women in Academia and Kate Clancy of the University of Illinois was one of my guests. Kate has done a lot of research into harassment at field sites. The results were published in 2014.