recent, Science / Tech, Women

An Unhelpful Study about Women in Physics

An article promoted by the American Physical Society (APS, the world’s largest organization of physicists) has claimed a recent study shows that “Yes, Sexual Harassment Still Drives Women Out of Physics.” Unfortunately, the study does not ascertain the severity of the harassment, who engages in harassment, and whether harassment gets more or less severe as people advance in the field. Moreover, the conclusion that harassment drives women from physics contradicts publicly available data on the progression of women in physics careers. Harassment is a matter that we should take seriously, but we should act thoughtfully, and the study at hand does not provide enough evidence to justify alarm.

The authors gauged the incidence of harassment by asking approximately 460 students to indicate “Never,” “Once,” “Twice,” or “More than twice” for the following survey items (text verbatim from the article, numbers added for convenience):

While in a context associated with physics, someone…

  1. …made sexual remarks or told inappropriate jokes or stories
  2. …made comments of a sexual nature or tone about your body, appearance, or clothing, or discussed your sexual activity
  3. …made sexist remarks (e.g., suggesting people of your sex or gender are not as good at physics or math)
  4. …treated you differently, ignored you, or put you down because of your sex or gender
  5. …repeatedly asked you out; messaged or contacted you after you said “no” or asked the person to stop
  6. …touched you without your permission making you uncomfortable

The good news is that for all items the most common response was “Never.” Also, “Never” and “Once” together constituted at least 60 percent of responses for every item, and for all items except 3 and 4, “Never” constituted a majority of responses. In addition, for items 5 and 6 (which arguably involve the most direct attempted engagement with a person) “More than twice” was the least common response (6 percent and 3 percent, respectively), while 81 percent and 85 percent of respondents respectively answered “Never.”

The bad news, of course, is that many students have experienced inappropriate treatment, and some people need to improve their behavior. Alas, this study won’t help us meaningfully address the problem, as it provides no information on who is responsible for the reported misconduct. If unwelcome behavior comes primarily from freshman classmates who improve as they progress in their studies, we should correct them, but also breathe a sigh of relief that the physics community is one in which most people improve. On the other hand, if misconduct comes primarily from senior people then we need systematic overhaul of a community in which the rot starts at the top and trickles down. The reality is almost certainly between those extremes, but the findings from this study do not tell us where to focus efforts most productively.

Likewise, each item can encompass a range of behaviors by a range of people in a range of “physics settings.” For instance, the authors do not indicate if persistent attempts to ask someone out are mere annoyances or rise to the level of stalking behavior requiring law enforcement responses. We also don’t know if the persistent requests come from classmates in introductory courses, where many students aren’t even majoring in physics, i.e. a situation that may be less about physics in particular than about universities in general. Conversely, if professors are asking students out on dates then human resources should promptly sack them for behavior that is completely unacceptable from people with authority over students.

Regarding item 3, what constitutes “suggesting people of your sex or gender are not as good at physics or math”? If people have literally said “Women can’t do physics” then they should apologize and change. On the other hand, suppose that a peer mentions arguments from James Damore’s controversial memo on gender gaps in STEM. Damore repeatedly rejected blanket statements about women, emphasizing the wide ranges of interests and abilities in both sexes (see, for instance, the figures at the top of page 4 of the memo). Nonetheless, reporters at leading newspapers have characterized him as arguing “that maybe women were not equally represented in tech because they were biologically less capable of engineering.” Since even journalists with professional obligations to check printed statements against original sources mischaracterize Damore’s detailed, footnoted memo in this way, it is quite possible that a student would similarly misinterpret offhand summaries of such arguments. Still, it would not follow that the physics community is a hotbed of sexism; it would simply mean that physicists should reflect on how to better approach difficult conversations.

Regarding item 4, how do people know that treatment is unequal and due to gender? Yes, sexist treatment does happen, and it is never acceptable. However, too many people have said “they’d never do this to a man” about things that routinely happen to men. For instance, a woman professor has lamented to me that a man delivered a soliloquy about how terrible his professors were when he took classes on her subject (at a different university), and suggested that everyone in her field should follow his suggestions for improvement. She took this to be a classic example of “mansplaining.” Alas, non-physicists—of both sexes!—routinely tell me (a cisgender male) what was wrong with their high school or college physics classes. What she regards as mansplaining, I experience as a daily occupational hazard.

Conversely, it’s entirely possible that the survey respondents have experienced unambiguously unequal treatment. Unfortunately, we don’t know what that mistreatment is or who perpetrates it. Do we need to admonish male students to let female peers participate as equals in study groups? Do we need to train laboratory instructors to give equal attention to men and women as they troubleshoot equipment? Or do we need to fire department heads who only bestow plum research opportunities upon men? We lack sufficient information to take targeted, relevant, and effective steps.

The authors also claim that their rather imprecise measures of harassment correlate with reductions in women students’ confidence and sense of belonging in the field. However, only some of the harassment items show statistically significant associations with students’ confidence and sense of belonging, and which harassment items show significant associations depends on what sorts of controls are included in the model. In one case, the sign of the effect even runs contrary to the hypothesis that harassment decreases confidence: Students who reported unwanted sexual attention are significantly more likely to believe that their success was due to ability rather than luck (though this effect disappears when more controls are included). Moreover, reported effects are weak, with the most severe reported harassment only shifting students’ reported attitudes by less than half a point on a 0–4 scale. These are all signs of a result that needs replication before we build policies around it.

Finally, regarding the authors’ concern that harassment may drive women out of physics, there’s surprisingly little evidence of attrition of women from physics. A study by the American Institute of Physics (of which the American Physical Society is a member organization) found that:

In conclusion, there is no evidence of attrition for women in physics and astronomy between undergraduate degree completion, graduate degree completion, and obtaining faculty positions. Furthermore, women are more represented in associate and assistant professor positions in physics than expected. Women may decrease their participation in physics between high school and completing their undergraduate degrees, but more data is needed to understand this transition.

In short, the proportion of women among physics professors in the US slightly exceeds the proportion of women among students completing PhDs in physics, which in turn matches the proportion of women among students entering graduate school and also among students completing undergraduate degrees in physics. The only unknown factor (which is admittedly relevant for studies of harassment in undergraduate physics programs) is the fraction of women beginning undergraduate studies in physics. This number is difficult to obtain, as many American colleges and universities do not require undergraduate students to formally declare majors until sometime in their second year of college; many students try a variety of subjects during their first and second undergraduate years.

What we do know is that undergraduate physics majors typically take the same calculus-based introductory physics courses as engineering students, and in many educational studies (even at institutions famous for developing progressive pedagogical techniques) the proportion of women in such courses ranges from 20 percent to 35 percent. This is comparable to the proportion of American women completing bachelor’s degrees in physics, which has been slightly over 20 percent for the past decade.

In short, we lack sufficient data to draw conclusions about attrition from physics (whether due to harassment or other factors) during undergraduate studies. Fortunately, though, whatever harassment might be happening during undergraduate years is not causing substantial attrition at subsequent stages of the academic path, suggesting that efforts to reduce attrition should be focused rather than broad in scope. We should still seek more information, but cautious optimism seems warranted.

Of course, attrition statistics are ultimately irrelevant to the ethical issue at hand: Harassment of women is unacceptable because women are people entitled to respect and dignity, regardless of whether or not they are under-represented in their field or harassment causes attrition from the field. At the same time, the importance of respecting and protecting human dignity underscores the need for actions guided by reliable data. Threat inflation will not help us focus resources appropriately, and may even backfire by scaring women away. If evidence shows that harassment is perpetrated by people in many settings and career stages, then we should respond broadly, but if harassment is mostly concentrated in certain settings and ranks, then we should focus proactive measures appropriately while remaining responsive to people who experience it in any situation.

 

The author is a tenured professor of physics. Sebastian Cesario is a pseudonym.

87 Comments

  1. Sean Leith says

    “Sexual Harassment Still Drives Women Out of Physics.” Really? I didn’t read the article, I don’t know how they came to this conclusion. But common sense tells me this is nothing more than SJW garbage. There no way this can be true. Maybe they are talking about 1 in a million, or maybe they are talking about woman in Iran. American Physical Society is promoting this kind of trash? It is a disgrace to science.

    • jimhaz says

      The first sentence says

      “A survey of female undergraduates in physics found that three quarters of them experience some form of sexual harassment, leaving them alienated from the field”

      Purposefully worded to infer that all 3/4ers of the women are alienated.

    • Daniel says

      I think you are basically right, but there is one quite serious way that Universities impede the growth of female participation in the Physical Sciences.
      The fact is that young people choose their field of major interest based on how they perform in such activities compared to their peers. If they do comparatively well, they tend to go on toward a career in the area much more than if they find themselves relatively weak, particularly early on in the first years of college. The top schools tend to attract the top students whose preparation and talents are awe inspiring. Affirmative action tends to take students who have potential but are inexperienced, and push them into schools in which their peers are already impressive, and this tends to convince them to look to other fields of study. Had they been at the schools with students comparable to themselves they would get a chance to develop those talents rather than feel that discouragement at the start.
      Thus it is not discrimination against them that discourages, but our attempts to help them out by raising their peers above them at the start that does it.

    • Scott says

      lol. “I know nothing about the subject, but I have common sense about it.” Really?

  2. Victoria says

    The first element listed basically disqualifies the study. The notion inappropriate discussion is harassment in and of itself is just the usual ‘safe space’ narcissism that feminists share with certain religious conservatives.

    You don’t have a right to control other people’s conversations unless there are general rules in an environment that prohibit such discussion, which is problematic in publicly-funded research settings, since I’m not sure what the compelling government interest to disallow discussion of sex might be.

    Honestly women (or men) that are that vulnerable to inappropriate speech not overtly directed at or about them or otherwise that sensitive to perceived slight (element 4) are unlikely to have the confidence and drive that underlies meaningful contributions to research.

    • lewis guignard says

      Victoria, Exactly so. I might tell a joke, which is sexual in nature and someone decide it is sexist and directed at them, because they can hear it. The same would easily be true for someone saying they like Donald Trump, some people would decide that was a personal attack or slander against them.

  3. Asenath Waite says

    These questions are so vague, as is the “context associated with physics” component, that the responses are amost meaningless. Question 4 is the worst. How does one know whether the way someone is treating them is a result of their gender? And “treated differently” could also mean that they were treated better than other students. It’s all so nebulous and open to interpretation. They also include no control groups from other, female-dominated or less male-dominated disciplines. I imagine a similar proportion of all female college students would answer “yes” to these questions. And almost certainly the vast majority of this “harassment” would be coming from student peers rather than professors. It’s just a terribly-designed study. And if the attrition statistics cited by the author are accurate, that would seem to be a pretty good indication that women are not being driven out of physics by perceived harassment, unless it’s all occurring at the undergraduate level.

    • Stephanie says

      “And “treated differently” could also mean that they were treated better than other students.”

      That’s a great point. All this concern about women in physics could be leading professors and technicians to treat female students more delicately, sometimes to the point the student feels patronized. I imagine that response is far more prevalent than being disparaged

    • Tim Ewers says

      It is a very poor study. You and the author point out some of its shortcomings. The first, however, is the absolute belief in the attribution of response to actual harassment. Someone may interpret something someone else does as sexist, racist, harassment etc., but that does not mean the something that person did was any of those things. It is an interpretation and interpretations are fraught with error. Just look at what is called racist and sexist, and without rebuke. So, right off the bat, the level of mis-attribution (error) introduced into the signal measured with their instrument, may very well account for or at least diminish the degree of change they claim.

  4. I think what would be needed to actually see if the study’s premise is true is the same survey to be asked of say nursing students or those majoring in psychology or any other female dominated profession. Maybe law as well as that is about 50/50 or greater for women I think and I know their proportion is increasing in that field. If the results are similar or even greater, the premise that women are being “driven out” of physics is bunk.

  5. I agree with Asenath. No control was done, say with a female dominated field. I would venture the survey results would be similar and thus the premise of women being “driven out” of physics is bunk.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Dookert
      Good points but remember an obvious control group: men. Were men surveyed as well, particular about sexism affecting their chances for promotion, research positions etc?

      How was the population sample selected, is was it del-selecting as so many such “studies” are and which directly invalidates them.?

      • Asenath Waite says

        @Rev. Wazoo

        Having men take the survey would have been another good control. It seems the sample was taken from attendees at an undergraduate Women in Physics conference, so I imagine that population would be somewhat enriched for the type of person who might be prone to view interactions as sexual harassment. There may also have been further selection for this type of personality since the methods say that the survey was voluntary, and about 31% of attendees chose to participate.

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @Asenath Waite
          So, near as I can determine it was a self-selected “survey.” Hand out a hundred flyers, get 31 back and call it representative of the hundred people you handed them out to. Such behavior destroys whatever’s left of respect for the social sciences.

  6. DBruce says

    Gee even the Nerds are nasty to girls. Isn’t that sad? Upon encountering a female we all thought they bumbled and stumbled amiably and harmlessly and amusingly like … Jeff Goldblum. We thought they would always go out of their way to help a girl scientist. But no.

    • The patriarchal conspiracy is vast, lurking around every corner, just waiting to jump out and oppress the poor defenseless whammens.

  7. tabarnick says

    There are several good points raised by other readers, but I have another one. How many men would answer yes to one or several of the questions in the survey? I know I would – and I think meeting bigots or unpleasant individuals, or attracting undesired attention from other people is part of the human condition, a part that grown-up humans have learned to deal without reducing one to running away scared from the field, helpless, forever traumatized, quivering.

  8. Kevin Herman says

    I could come up with more meaningful surveys after taking a marketing management class during my college days. I still wouldn’t want anyone to draw a major conclusion like harassment is keeping down the number of females in physics based on one I devised.

    • Bob Policy says

      In general, push polls are sometimes disguised as surveys.

  9. Eigen Eagle says

    How about just ask women that left physics programs if they left entirely or primarily to get away from sexual harassment?

    Physics is a challenging subject. It’s very math-intensive and it requires you to come up with answers from first principles rather than memorizing definitions.

    But I suspect if the data were collected in this way it would show higher female attrition is due to not liking the subject after getting a taste.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      “… due to not liking the subhect…” but hVing alluring alternatives is the other half. Most male physics majors might be attracted to shifting to engineering or math but to English, gender Studies or psu3? Not so much.

      But most female physics majors also have the verbal skills to succeed in such programs, therefore more will opt over.

  10. My anecdotal evidence, as someone with bachelor’s and master’s in physics:

    At worst, harassment was less than in other departments. More accurately, little to none; heavy on none. Although jokes of a sexual nature were sometimes made by both genders. Didn’t know we were committing assault at the time. Shame on us.

    Oh, and one girl repeatedly asked me out. I was her TA. Went out once after she wasn’t a student of mine, mostly because she was nice and I felt bad that there was no chemistry. The horror of it all. Such trauma.

  11. E. Olson says

    Whiny snowflakes, why can’t they just man up and grow a pair when confronted with a social or cognitive difficulty? If they can’t stand the heat, they should go back to the kitchen.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      You’re referring to…the typical Quillette poster when confronted with a non-white, non-male perspective?

      You may as well be.

      • Peter from Oz says

        No, NP, E.O is talking about people with non male perspective, or more accurately those who are stupid enough to believe that there are perspectives based on characteristics rather than character.

  12. Closed Range says

    Another thing to bear in mind is that the job structure of academia is such that the majority of people will be leaving the field at each stage of the career, simply because those are the numbers. Out of 1000 undergrads, maybe 50 will go on to do a PhD, and maybe only 1 or 2 will become eventually tenured professors. So you can do any study you like, the truth is that most people leave academia because there just aren’t that many jobs in it.

    Another thing that bugs me is that these “leaving” studies usually fail to take into account what the people are leaving to – if all those physics students are headed to the financial sector or big tech companies (of which many are), could it be that those who leave are simply leaving to pursue often highly successful and better paying careers elsewhere? Maybe they have the sense to realise that the shitty job prospects of academia aren’t worth it? Seems to me that poor salary, lack of job security and family unfriendliness is a bigger issue for academia than some vague issues some may have on the rare occasion with other peoples’ behaviour. But nobody wants to tackle that problem now, do they?

    • Pretty accurate. I “left” physics after finishing undergrad. Got a good job, then got a targeted masters in a specific sub-genre of physics. I’m not dependent on fickle funding or university politics, and make mid 100k salary. Have a beautiful family. Woe is me for “leaving” the field before my PhD and tenure track.

      And per my comment above, I’m very skeptical of the results of this study, anecdote being what it is.

  13. I hope that the physicists that put the study together don’t also design their experiments to produce the results they want as opposed to seeking the truth.

  14. Stephanie says

    I wish leftist obsession with demonizing men and male-dominated fields would actually translate to protecting women from harassment. An esteemed STEM professor at UC Berkeley once suggested he would take me on for a PhD if I became his mistress. He manhandled me in front of half the department. When I reported him, my file was ignored for months, and after a painfully slow investigation that focused more on my record as a student than whether the alleged misconduct occurred, the Title IX office decided his behaviour didn’t violate their harassment policy because my academic prospects weren’t affected significantly enough. I guess doing a PhD with more prominent researchers in a city with better weather and where people don’t shit in the streets means I haven’t suffered enough.

    All this concern about women is fake. These leftists don’t give half a slip about women. That’s why you can’t expect this study or any other to be useful at providing solutions. This is about attacking men and instituting thought control, so all research needs to be consistent with that goal. Nothing more.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Stephanie:
      Sorry that prof was such a grubby grabby asshole. Nowadays, you could just report anonymously to Human Resources that he said the n-word or had good words for Trump and watch the fur fly. Would be a shitty way to get back at him, but sometimes you have to use the tools at hand to get the job done.

      And yes the lefties are faux interested in women’s rights. If they really were they’d be stomping all over the transgender bastards, demanding POTUS start nuking Sharia-compliant countries, or boycotting any institution or people that had a good thing to say about Islam. But the TG’s and the Moslems are higher on the intersectionality pole than you are, so their attitude is, you deserve what you get, baby, I’ve got virtue-signalling to do.

    • Mark H says

      I’m sorry that you had that experience, that Professor sounds like a complete douche (and the administration that then failed to remedy the situation).

      Your last paragraph reminds me of something that I remember being said about Socialists (probably by Jordan Peterson, but he may have also been quoting or paraphrasing George Orwell). It was that they don’t love the poor, they just hate the rich. These leftists do not care about women, or ensuring that women have a fair go in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue. They just want to “smash the patriarchy”.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Stephanie

      Or may just about lifetime employment. Back in the day getting work as a witch hunter was a good gig because there are always as many witches as you need. Back in Stalin’s Russia you had your yearly quota of anti-Soviet elements after which you could take life easy for a while, but the job was never done, next year there would be another quota so you were all set. Now it’s Victims. There is always another Victim because that’s the job.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Stephanie
      Sorry to hear a rentier sought to parlay his iron rice-bowl and attendant powers of patronage into such a quid-pro-quo but glad your integrity prevented you from accepting such a tawdry arrangement. Also glad you raised the alarm over such egregious behavior despite getting no relief; best to do the right thing in a timely fashion even if, sadly, it produced no appropriate professional discipline.

      I trust you’ve managed to get on with your studies and your life; the only thing more damaging than someone trying to abuse you is letting that attempt shape your life.

      You rightly observe, “All this concern about women is fake.” The crux of that deceptive stance is that they seek to right a wrong; rather they seek the seat of power to allow them to similarly exploit – and reward – those whom they might.

      Congratulations on not letting yourself be tainted by such small-minded greed, remember that living well is the best revenge.

  15. PaulNu says

    We’re trying to create a one size fits all work environment. Not everyone wants the same things. Work places should come with ratings like movies have. If you want to work in a G rated office, then you should have that option. However if you want to work in a PG-13 office you should have that option as well.

  16. RTW says

    They surveyed STUDENTS. God forbid some icky nerds in their 20s make a pass or joke in poor taste. These people are ignored sexually and probably always will be so cut them some slack?

  17. Ducky Dave says

    Be brilliant to be able to blame lack of ability on some non-existent sexual harassment. We should all do it.

  18. Paolo says

    Interesting article, but with a few shortcomings:
    1) I didn’t find mention that the article under analysis does not compare the responses of its female-only sample to those of a male sample. With this amazingly dismal experiment design, it simply cannot address the question whether there is sexist discrimination or harassment.
    2) also, that article does not seem to have controls in other contexts, say other academic fields or other work floors. For the same reason above, it can’t say anything about how the physics context is any different from other contexts.
    3) to say that ‘if professors are asking students out on dates then human resources should promptly sack them for behavior that is completely unacceptable from people with authority over students’ is really naive and out of touch with reality. I lecture in a university, and it is crystal clear to everyone that it is students who have more power over faculty in most situations. A rule of firing or anyhow disciplining faculty for ‘asking out’ students (adults interacting with adults) is totalitarian and sets up perverse incentives for destructive behavior from students.

  19. The study has so many flaws it is tempting to consider if it was created as a test of the peer review system. The study does not compare the supposed incidents of sexual harassment in a physics context to that in other academic contexts. It does not check if the behavior concerned is by men or women or directed ‘at’ men or women. It does not check if the level of behavior in a physics context is more or less than that in society as a whole. None of the behaviors asked about are necessarily harassment let alone sexual harassment and may may even categorize actions which are beneficial as harassment. Actions are judged as harassment without the subjects categorizing them as such. This is before considering possible selection bias and the inherent unreliability of survey data.

    This is not research at all in the sense that the purpose is not to gain knowledge or to confirm or refine what is already known. The study by design is completely worthless from this point of view. The purpose of the study is to create a propaganda factoid:
    “A survey of undergraduate women, who attended a conference for undergraduate women in physics, revealed that approximately three quarters (74.3%; 338/455) of survey respondents experienced at least one type of sexual harassment’
    This sounds serious and is in fact not substantiated by the study none of the respondents reported sexual harassment, they reported ambiguous behavior which the ‘researchers’ interpreted as sexual harassment although clearly it need not have been. It carefully implied but not stated that this is harassment against women but in fact it could be against anyone male or female.

    What is most concerning is that this paper was published at all. that implies it passed peer review and that suggests that the peer reviewers were either happy to endorse empty propaganda as research, scared to point out the many problems in the paper or were catastrophically inept and incompetent. None of these options reflect well on the current state of academic research.

    The factoid will undoubtedly be used to justify further preferential treatment of women students to encourage their entry into physics while taking absolutely no action to address the generally poorer educational performance of boys than girls and the catastrophically bad performance of some specific groups of boys such as boys from low income single parent families. I studied
    physics so I am all for encouraging anyone to study it but creating inflammatory misinformation is never a good thing and the net effect will probably to deter both sexes from studying it and justify more misandry.

    • tabarnick says

      Thanks for summing up in one reply the myriads of objections any rational person would have in doubting this “study” actually proves what it purports to.

      What I find troubling is that the American Physical Society is promoting this crude piece of SJW agitprop.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @AJ

      Well said. Sums up my feelings as well.

  20. Paolo says

    Great point about the selection bias! Indeed it is more than appropriate to ask whether a sample of women picked at a ‘Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics’ is a representative sample at all: 1) women that go there may be especially biased to think that harassement/discrimination and the like are a real problem; 2) people attending that conference are in all likelihood made especially alert to potential problems of the type analysed in the paper.
    As I also highlighted above, it’s a very poor study, it’s quite amazing that it’s been published: but we’re living in the age of political correctness after all, so no real surprise.

  21. Barney Doran says

    These physicists should stick to their knitting. Oh, sorry, that doesn’t work either.

  22. Ray Andrews says

    Too bad we couldn’t have a sort of Atlas Shrugged strike by all real scientists and techs. All white, male heteros down tools. No, I mean hand over their tools to the nearest Victim of their Oppression. The last date has been asked, the last joke told, the last bit of racist algebra thrown out. How long would it take for everything to grind to a halt? Then the Competent suggest that they’d be happy to return to work, on condition that the pogroms end and the femi-stazi be disbanded. I’ve always been a union man, let’s have a union of WMHs. Soooo-lidarity for eeeever. Soooo-lidarity for eeeever.

    • tabarnick says

      Oh please cut it out. You’re giving us mere skeptics of the Perpetual Oppression a bad name.

        • lewis guignard says

          Interesting idea none the less. Being in the trucking industry, my hope is that trucking companies stop delivering freight to within 100 miles of DC.
          In your idea, if the tech’s stopped working, in fact, all blue collar jobs, the world would come to a halt fairly quickly.

  23. Ron Arts says

    The questions presume that things like ‘.. made sexual remarks or told inappropriate jokes or stories’ must be inherently very offensive and/or harming. In practice though most people are much stronger, and more forgiving our fellow humans. So all these questions should have been followed by: “when this happened, how much were you bothered by it?”.
    As it stands the survey maximizes bad outcomes.

  24. Barney Doran says

    There wasn’t a moment when I took high school physics that I didn’t feel abused.

  25. TJR says

    An organisation to which I belong produced a very similar survey a couple of years ago. It had almost exactly the same problems as this one, for all the reasons mentioned above, in particular the lack of any sort of control group.

    Fortunately it was available for comment before publication, so a colleague and myself wrote an email pointing out all of these problems. As far as I know it was never published, or if it was it received very little publicity.

    The key, of course, was catching it before publication/publicity.

    (Apologies if this duplicates, I posted it a few hours ago and it hasn’t appeared).

  26. Eisso Post says

    If someone doesn’t want to go out with you, are you never allowed to ask again? If you f ex touch someone’s shoulder in good faith but she doesn’t like it, is that ‘harassment’? Do you have to fill in a form before every approach of a woman, especially with possible erotic intentions? Does the growing percentage of young unhappy singles have anything to do with this?

    • Eisso Post says

      Btw when I was young I remember the girls telling as much dirty jokes as the boys. Whatever happened to equality?

    • Eisso Post says

      Btw when I was young the girls told as often dirty jokes as the boys did. Whatever happened to much-praised equality?

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Eisso Post

      “Does the growing percentage of young unhappy singles have anything to do with this?”

      I think that’s very likely. Young men are being taught that it’s wrong to pursue romantic relationships with women. Combine that with the increasing amount of people’s social lives that is spent online and you end up with considerably fewer romantic relationships forming.

  27. V 2.0 says

    The questionnaire quoted is beyond terrible. Most of the questions rely on the responders’ perception of an interaction rather than on hard and fast criteria of what constitutes harassment. In this day and age, thanks to all the fear mongering, women have been taught to see harassment even in the tiniest and most innocuous remarks. How do you know you are being ignored because you are a woman? Maybe you just keep saying dumb things. Are you freaking out because a co-worker accidentally brushed up against you? Why is this not a problem for men?

    Women want equality yet are unable to survive a few mild annoyances let alone WWI trenches or fighting off bears.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      You probably have no idea what a misogynistic dickhead you sound like. Honestly, are you joking? You think all women are hysterical idiots who cannot understand basic human interactions? And WWI trenches? What a bizarre and pointless reference. Go walk down a dark alley late at night by yourself as a woman, tough guy, and see how mildly annoying the heightened possibility of sexual assault works for you. Yea, and you fight bears. Of course you do.

      If you behave that way around women, I promise you they laugh their asses off at you when you aren’t around. You sound like a total neanderthal.

      • DiamondLil says

        Nakatomi. Your complete lack of self-awareness is awe inspiring.

      • Ron Arts says

        @Nakatomi Plaza

        I’m afraid you are confirming stereotypes about females here, by responding emotionally instead of rebutting him and explaining why the questionnaire is in fact correct.

        My first rule in discussions: the first one to attack the other person’s character admits being defeated: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Ad_hominem .

  28. Understood Betsy says

    This study sounds completely flawed and invalid. That said, do we need to go from there straight to the idea that no women are ever sexually harassed and any suggestion that they are is just so much libtard hysteria? The study is terrible. And women also get sexually harassed routinely. But more to the point, women in STEM disciplines are in a significant minority and they definitely face sexist discrimination and ostracism from male peers and professors–which is what a study like this should focus on, not harassment per se.

    I know because I’m the mom of a brilliant, committed applied-math major who happens to be a girl, and she has a much tougher road than the boys in her classes, who vastly outnumber girls and who are overtly encouraged and mentored by professors, none of whom (so far) are women. The few girls in her major get no attention from professors, are made to feel unwelcome at meetings of the math and finance clubs. They are thus unlikely to gain the kind of traction and influence that would help them build networks of peers and mentors, or secure club leadership positions and research assistant jobs. If girls drop out of these majors it’s because of these kinds of factors, not because some idiot won’t take no for an answer about a date or makes an unwanted pass (and certainly not because they are too “dumb” as some moron above suggested).

    My girl is a tough little cookie who is great at what she does and loves it. She will be just fine. But do not kid yourselves. The odds in these fields are stacked against girls right now—just not in the way a poorly designed study like this one would imply.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @ Understood Betsy

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments and kudos to your kid for persevering in a challenging program.

      Please consider that the bogus “research” cited isn’t merely that; it does real damage to your daughter’s prospects by further frightening many of her male colleagues and profs into having as little to do with her as practicable. Every interaction with her in a setting related to her studies is now fraught with danger. Graduate programs, promotions even careers could be suddenly imperiled with little possible reward to justify such severe risks.

      This is how such irresponsible “activist research” harms those it ostensibly seeks to help but which in fact is little more than naked exploitation for personal gain.

      • Understood Betsy says

        You are so right about this!!! Again, this isn’t to say we shouldn’t EVER research sexual misconduct or how it affects people. But from what I’m seeing, sexual misconduct is not the fundamental problem for these undergrads. Meanwhile, this sort of “research finding” only reinforces existing (bad) gender dynamics in these fields, for the reasons you point out.

        One other quick point. I know it’s not fashionable, but as far as actual sexual harassment (or sexual annoyance) goes, I have talked to my daughter about how to deal with guys who are displaying more libido than sense and it’s not rocket science. What she’s doing in her work IS rocket science. She is keeping her eyes on the prize. We should not be teaching our daughters to nurture a sense of grievance and victimhood.

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @ Understood Betsy
          Good on you for not abandoning your parental respnsibility to teach your daughter to negotiate adult situations as seems to be widely practiced today. It’s a great disservice to allow (and even encourage) childhood to persist into one’s children’s 20’s and can do great harm to their otherwise natural development – not least of which is still being immature when becoming a parent.

          Adulthood requires being able to accept responsibility for one’s own actions and to distinguish between reasonable concerns and imaginary ones. Parenthood adds accepting responsibility for your children’s actions which is impossible if you’re not even responsible for your own.

          The grievance and victimhood mindset peddled today is essentially a childish irresponsibility as all bad outcomes are the results of sexism etc so no responsibility and no lessons learned. They’re not even able to identify any real 1unfair treatment as it’s obscured by all the false positives which the mindset constantly produces.

          Again, the actual results of the SJW campaign serve only to cripple its adherents rather than improve their abilities to participate in the adult world and successfully pursue their goals. But a host of emotionally and developmentally stunted people dependent on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DIE) nomenklatura is just what that needs to metastasize even further, following their victims into the corporate working world.

          HR department’s have already been largely riddled with DiE methodologies and it’s now bursting out from there and establishing whole new avowedly DiE departments, executive officers and legal requirements even for those enterprises not yet directly impacted. Witness the Google employees enabled by their DiE apparatchiks (and simultaneously exploited by the same for garnering power) in their embarrassing claims that James Damore’s mere presence made the office too toxic for them.

          This, simply because he suggested that making coding more social by introducing more group-oriented projects might well attract more women to it, thus helping Google get and retain more female programmers, his stated ambition. Interestingly, this was (and paradoxically is) a standard feminist talking point: making professions more female-friendly, as he suggested, would help getting more women into them.

          But woe betide even the female Chief Diversity Officer who actually takes diversity seriously and steps outside the current dog-whistling orthodoxy. When Apple’s CDO suggested white men from all over the world might have diverse viewpoints she was promptly forced to resign.

          This self-defeating neurosis is what your sensible parenting is helping your daughter learn to avoid as she matures. Well-done!

    • Dmon says

      If there are few women in STEM majors, it’s not from lack of welcome signs. I got my engineering degree in the early ’80s, and even then there were massive initiatives to get women to major in it. They sent the women STEM majors around to high schools to recruit, and the school had a special WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) program in which women were provided with study rooms, free tutoring, networking and career assistance (all of these things unavailable to me, despite the wording of Title IX). The few women in my classes were showered with male attention (some of which was no doubt regarded as unwelcome), and were generally in the position of Queen Bees. Throughout my career (mainly in the Aerospace industry), the ratio of women managers to women engineers was noticeably higher than for men (meaning that women were promoted at a higher rate than men).
      So how does this relate to your daughter’s situation? Her male classmates notice that she has access to free assistance not available to them. They probably saw enthusiastic initiatives to recruit women into STEM at their high schools, most of which had an unspoken undercurrent that they themselves were somehow to blame for the (somehow critical) “shortage” of women in the field (an emergency which is somehow not important in the commercial fishing, lumber harvesting or coal mining industries). The professors understand that she could ruin their careers and lives if they make one false move around her which could somehow be framed as harassment. It does not surprise me in the least that they want absolutely nothing to do with her outside of the absolute minimum of classroom interaction.

      • Understood Betsy says

        I am not sure what you are talking about. My daughter had no “free assistance” or special advantages not available to boys, and there were no “enthusiastic initiatives” to recruit her or her few female classmates into her discipline above and beyond what was commonly available. So I don’t think the issue in her situation is what you are suggesting as much as it is a sort of chummy familiarity among the men that just makes it easier and more natural for them to interact with and help one another. I’m sure the current atmosphere around sexual harassment doesn’t help, but I don’t believe it’s the core problem.

        But perhaps we can agree to disagree about that, since I’m sure we agree about the central fact that this particular piece of research is fatally flawed and probably looking at the wrong things to begin with.

        • Sebastian Cesario says

          Most undergraduate women in STEM actually don’t receive much in the way of special assistance or favors. However, institutions sure try to brag about their alleged support for women in STEM, so that they can look virtuous. This impresses some people, of course, but it also sparks resentment from some. Ironically, both groups are operating under the mistaken impression that institutions are actually doling out special treatment. Sometimes they are, but usually they aren’t. Or, at least, they aren’t doing half as much as their bragging would suggest.

          • Dmon says

            Can’t comment on schools in the present day., other than to say that the day my son moved into student housing at a UC school, he was informed at the orientation meeting that he (along with all the other men) was a rapist and an oppressor. But the last two companies I worked for had explicitly stated policies aimed at increasing the proportion of women engineers. One of them went so far as to state in writing that the goal was to achieve at least a 35% proportion of women. The percentage of women STEM undergraduates, then as now, was <25%. In other words, they were saying that by definition they were going to pass up better qualified men in order to hire women, apparently for the sole purpose of hiring women. This company also had special training classes for women who wanted to get into management, networking organizations specifically for women, an award called “Outstanding Women Engineers” (with a monetary bonus attached), and in general an unceasing barrage of internal electronic information extolling the contributions of woman engineers.
            We also had regular sexual harassment training. The official definition of sexual harassment, according to our training was, and I quote : “The perception of harassment is harassment”. In other words, any thing you say to a female coworker may or may not be considered harassment – you have absolutely no way of knowing. Try defining any other crime like that. The message internalized by every man at the company was do not say a word to any woman beyond what is absolutely necessary. Do not socialize with them inside or outside the workplace. Do not make eye contact in the hall. I was old and married, and not in the game anymore, so I could stay out of trouble. But I always wondered why any young single man would want to work at that company. Engineering is a demanding career, and engineers will often put in considerably more than a 40 hour workweek. That’s an awful lot of your waking hours to be excluded from social interaction with the opposite sex.

          • Understood Betsy says

            This is a great point. As noted, I’ve not seen any overt statements of support for women in the applied math department per se at my daughter’s institution, but there is plenty of pious lip service paid to the idea of rooting out sexual harassment and erasing gender differences, etc., more generally across the University. So if the aim is to keep smart, capable girls in these disciplines, they are largely addressing the wrong problems, accomplishing nothing, and then, as you suggest, possibly creating more problems for the girls than they are solving, if it actually interferes with more natural and productive working relationships with professors and peers.

  29. James Lee Phillips says

    “On the other hand, if misconduct comes primarily from senior people then we need systematic overhaul of a community in which the rot starts at the top and trickles down.”

    OK but why? Nobody needs to systematically overhaul their family structure because they have a cranky old grandpa. Everybody knows when he’s being inappropriate, a relic of another time, and won’t be around much longer. Nobody’s afraid to yell at him when he crosses the line. What exactly needs the kind of systematic overhaul that time itself won’t soon provide naturally?

  30. House of Shards says

    Did I miss it, or were the questions not gender specific to men as the alleged harassers? In my own experience, it was women who harassed me, and if only it were just one or two…

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @House of Shards
      Indeed and that’s Ctuslly a growing problem related to the magic shield now often accorded to women (especially of a certain class) that they can do no wrong and sexual harassment is by definition a one-way street.

  31. Pyrthroes says

    Careerists of any nature aspire to dine out on institutional largesse, leveraging soi-disant credentials in lieu of actual accomplishment. Whether in academic, business, or public-sector apparats, quota-babies ensconced in administrative/paper-shuffling sinecures under preferential auspices perform precisely as expected– that is, not at all.

    Rather than simply “do the work,” if necessary founding enterprises to “hire themselves”, typically hidden-agenda, passive-aggressive beneficiaries of official favors blight everything they touch. The idea that 5 – 7 years following his 1905 Anno Mirabilis Albert Einstein remained a Technical Expert, Third Class, in the Bern Patent Office, is incomprehensible to entitlement mentalities ever on-the-make.

    What’s that you say, colleagues don’t appreciate your paper-chasing talents, trust your instincts, respect your sense that mere participation elevates whatever non-verbalizing talents you possess? Think Marie Curie, Mary Cassat, Emma Noether… then ask yourself, is austere dedication to a real skill the goal, or would I much prefer to bask in glory carrying some pretentious title that, frankly, no-one of sense-and-sensibility cares for beans?

  32. What is not known, from that questionnaire, is whether the transgressors were American, or some other nationality. In my experience, it is non-Westerners who are the most egregious offenders of social-sexual norms. Many of them have NO experience of women who don’t fall into one category or another:

    Relative
    Whore

    Too many of them are nearly completely deficient in social norms, and take any friendliness as an invitation for quick sex. These non-Westerners include primarily Middle-Easterners, Africans, and some Asians.

    Now, that is NOT to indict all non-Westerners, merely that superficial “awareness” training will NOT address the issue that is pervasive in many non-Western cultures. It goes bone-deep, and permeates all of their upbringing – familial, cultural, religious, and legal.

  33. markbul says

    “non-physicists—of both sexes!—routinely tell me (a cisgender male)”

    Speak English. You are not a ‘cisgender’ male. You are a man. It’s a perfectly good word, and it’s worked just fine for hundreds of years. There is no ‘cisgender’ – we don’t let delusional people define our vocabulary in other cases, why now? You’re swallowed the wrong pill, buddy.

  34. Geary Johansen says

    One of the real tragedies of the James Damore furore, was that if they had looked at his observations critically, even researching and expanding upon his original memo, they would have found that the science would have naturally suggested a new role and route for progression for women in Tech, and the broader field of STEM, in general. One aspect male and female cognitive science, is that high performing males are far more likely to suffer from asymmetry in their cognitive abilities. This not only means that men are more often only be capable of engaging in a narrow slice of fields within the knowledge economy, but also that women have far greater choice when possibly opting for high performing careers outside of STEM. When one allows for biological sex differences in interest, between people and things, it clear why women often opt out of STEM.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. One clear distinction in the old hacker community, was between those who were good at social engineering, and the more purely tech geek types that weren’t. In layman’s terms, this meant the one in five guys who was capable of putting on a suit or overalls and bluffing his way through security in person, or adopting a confident professional manner over the phone, and gaining access to protected systems. The ultimate expression of this lies with Apple, and the differences between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. My view, would be that if you are a successful Tech Giant, you would want both types.

    And here’s the thing. Women, in general, don’t have this problem. When a woman has high psychometric test scores for maths and engineering aptitudes, she is far more likely to also be good at reading and verbal communication. Now, it may well be the case that as a Tech company, you might want to preserve the social cohesion of your organisation through fairness (proportionality), making the Steve Wozniak types project managers for their technical proficiency, but that doesn’t mean that they will be able to cope with every situation well, spot the commercial applications for the project that they are working on, or communicate with Marketing, Accountancy, HR, Legal, or Business types, working within any corporation.

    As a former superuser, I have experience of this problem. Even after attempting to bullet-point production issues and technical opportunities, senior managers and directors often complained that they still needed a translator for me, or at least that I made their head hurt. It also cuts both ways, as if you are briefed in both the broader business goals and IT constraints, you can often arrange compromise workarounds, which can accomplish exactly what senior managers want, whilst saving hundreds of hours of unnecessary and dull coding time. If tech companies developed a resource management role, which involved serving as a liaison role to technical teams, spotting commercial applications, briefing to senior managers (and possibly VC’s and important clients)- this would not only make use of women’s broader strengths, but also persuade teenage girls and young women into the field.

    Now, I am not saying that women have any less talent in the STEM fields, but rather that their broader strengths (when at the top end of the cognitive spectrum) make them inherently more valuable for certain roles. Crucially, you have to persuade them into STEM, otherwise they’ll just choose medicine over medical research, or gravitate towards becoming a lawyer or working in finance. A really good strategy for accomplishing this goal is in stressing that, in STEM you can still work with people as well as ‘things’, and that women who want a career as well as a family, often find that the two are far less mutually exclusive in STEM, because of the far greater flexibility in working hours that spending some of your time working in a lab or coding can represent. The really insidious thing about over-egging the bro culture in Tech, or painting the sciences as systemically sexist, is that it can only dissuade young women from pursuing careers in these fields.

  35. Vijay S. Jodha says

    Instead of bringing out that old chestnut with respect to tech/science career vs. family life as being a zero sum game, the writer should have looked at societies where women have managed to have both options. Case in the point India (‘worst place in the world for women’ according to Time magazine), and whose space programme including recent Mars mission was driven by several female scientists. Their upcoming moon mission is headed by two women. https://scrolltoday.com/women-indias-space-missionsindias-rocket-women/

  36. It is sad that the author of this article feels he has to use a pseudonym to discuss an issue in a rational and moderate way. (Kudos to Quillette for giving him a forum where he can be heard at all.) It will be a great sign of progress if and when issues related to sex again become legitimate topics for debate in the public sphere.

  37. Edward Erwin says

    This is a very convincing paper. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine did their own study of sexual harassment in these fields.. The research suffered from the same sorts of problem pointed out by the author.

    Here is an excerpt from my paper “The New McCarthyism: Blacklisting in Academia (Quillettte, August 17, 2018):

    The recent National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report asks how prevalent sexual harassment is in these disciplines. It concludes that it is very common; 58% of academic employees say they have been sexually harassed. The report characterizes different types of sexual harassment. By far, the report says, the most common form of reported sexual harassment involved what the committee calls “gender” harassment: verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status.
    Without clear definitions of these concepts, there is no way to tell how many of these reports of gender bias are accurate. How would the scientists conducting the study determine if a joke or other type of utterance was intended to convey “objectification” or whether the listener merely interpreted it this way? The same problem arises for someone interpreting a remark as conveying “exclusion” or “second-class” status. How did the scientists reliably distinguish comments that conveyed exclusion or second-class status from those that did not?

  38. David of Kirkland says

    How many men have been harassed? How many men have received verbal threats or disparaging words? How many men have witnessed violence? How many have been victims of violence? How many men have been told they are gay, a woman or related attempts to slur?
    How many men have heard sexual jokes or experience “inappropriate” language? How many men have been approached by prostitutes, or charged to enter a bar that women are allowed in for free?

    In the end, bad actions occur. They should not be accepted, but stats that are too broad give no real meaning. Such a survey means little.

    • Calmdowndears says

      Look at moi! Look at moi! Look over there!
      How many more have heart disease than cancer!!!

  39. Ken says

    That petty little questionnaire does not demonstrate the sort of rigour that I expect of a physicist. I expect a physicist to quantify whatever they describe, with demonstrable proofs. Could sexual harassment be written as a wavefunction that collapses when examined? Is it possible that the better you know who a harassed female physicist is the less likely you are to know where she was harassed? Looking at the Covington boys and their facecrime of “smirking”, is it possible that harassment can be spooky action at a distance? My guess is that what is observed as harassment is completely dependent on the observer’s frame of reference.

  40. That girl that says the same thing as the other women says

    The problem in physics, as with academia in general, is that people do not want to see the obvious. A lot of people are blind about personnality disorders and gaslighting – to this day, people still believe that if a 20 years old female student has an ”affair” with a 55 years old professor, that this ”relationship” is consensual. No one wants to really believe that coercion, manipulation, harassment and violence is done by someone they know. At my school my professors find themselves a new girl every single semester. No one does that except if they have serious personnal issues – it is just not normal to be that abusive and empty. If you ask male students about the situation, they will tell you ”old males are going to retire soon” but in no moment do they realise that their current professors are very sick individuals – they only believe it is men ”out there” not ”over here”.

    At some point if you do not understand the real situation and disease behind the problem, you are never going to understand what is going on. It is not about men. It is not about women. It is about wether or not you acknowledge some people are incapable of being sane. The female students in my department overtly state that they are afraid of the chair of the physics department, that he really looks like a sociopath and cannot be trusted. But you can’t understand those things if you do not grasp what it means to be a disordered individual. The students that have no education on the matter all have the same behavior – they blame themselves, doubt themselves. look the other way and stay in denial for the behavior of their professor rather than seeing things for what they are. Disordered individuals are covert and you cannot see them for what they are if you refuse to acknowledge the behavior of other people for what it is – stop finding excuses for other people. Believe them when they show you who they are.

    I was targetted as a first year student at the bachelor level. The harassment that I experienced left me severely traumatised. It is not physics that is hard to do – but when the environment you study in is so toxic you worry about your safety (and are blame if anything happen to you) then of course it shows on my grades and motivation. I was threaten by a professor that he would put down my grades, that he was dangerous, that I couldn’t do real science, he was aggressive with me, used one of my friend to contact me (so his employer wouldn’t know) and tried to corner me in his office. Of course I made a complain – the result was my professor getting an award as best professor of the year. In this context, considering that one of my female friend was abused by the chair of the department at the same time and left the institution at the end of the semester, you realise quickly that the men work in team to keep the situation exactly as it is. It is not ”one rotten apple”. It is the whole culture of the place, has been for decades and won’t change soon. Obviously I cannot and will not go networking with my professors for career opportunities.

    I left physics because being educated by pedophiles, rapists and disordered individuals that do not take responsibility for their own feelings and behaviors is sincerely below my standards. Lawrence Krauss, Walter Lewin and Geoffrey Marcy are not the exception. They are the norm. Just look at how they treat their family and their own wives. It is sincerely awful and shameful. When you realise just how unaccountable you are as a professor, when you realise you can do anything you want with the system, there is absolutely nothing to stop you. When you are so disordered that you have no integrity, there is no reason for you to change. You people do not understand what paraphilia means. Academia is the perfect place for it.

    There are some things in life that are hard to believe at first because it hurts. But at some point there is not a single study that will be enough to show you the evidence, because the evidence is already overwhelming and it is still not enough for the community to wake up. There is no reason that women wouldn’t want to be astrophysicists – except if they are forced to discard their dignity and self esteem to do so. Men target women when they are very young – the discrimination and violence starts very early in academia and keeps going all the way up to PhD. People do not understand what it means to be disordered – they still believe being a womaniser is just a regular thing (while it has never been and never will be).

    When you spend you lifetime building up a career, the last thing you want to believe is that your coworkers are THAT low. So of course you blame women. How would you justify your own choice otherwise? The #metooSTEM has been really clear about how inhumane men can be towards women – but as long as you really believe women have nothing better to do than making up stories that don’t exist, you will never realise who are the people you work with.

    If you still don’t understand the situation about what it means to be incapable to see women as a separated complete human being, you should watch Star Trek The Original Series. It gives a perfect insights of what kind of people my professors are towards women (little girls, to be exact).

    It is not normal that so many men are still in denial about their collegues and the way their workplace function. It is naive and unappropriate. Believe women – we are all literally saying the same thing. Sexual violence is pervasive and omnipresent in academia – you don’t need a PhD to see it. Stop believing your own professors are clean … you don’t know them really well.

    And don’t try to shame me or to say you are sorry this happened to me. Just kick your ass about your perceptions and how you understand things. You have issues for not seeing things for what they are. What happened to me is the norm – it doesn’t matter if it hurts your feelings.

  41. Max Blancke says

    When oppression is in high demand and in short supply, it must be manufactured or less offensive forms must be elevated in seriousness.
    Sadly, quite a few people these days make a living in the grievance industry. And their practice of elevating minor or imagined slight to the level or “assault” is not helping anyone.

    The only emotion women tend to draw in my field is fear. In any highly competitive field, people tend to use whatever tools are available to get ahead. Any woman can destroy the career of any man just by remarking that “he makes me feel uncomfortable” or by filing an anonymous complaint.
    The old “Twilight Zone” series had an episode about a young boy with the power to help, harm or transform people. The worst thing he could do was to “wish you into the cornfield”.
    Women can succeed or thrive in pretty much any career. It is not about their quality of work, or any fear I might have about my personal behavior. It is the natural hesitation any sane person would have of being in the proximity of someone who can wish you into the cornfield. The brutal truth is that I dare not treat entry level female candidates the way I treat their male peers. Any criticism might be interpreted as #4 in the survey, as it is entirely subjective.
    Now of course when female candidates are assigned to me, I do my best to train and instruct them. That is my job. But the stress level is always a bit elevated. It was not always this way.

    • That girl that says the same thing as the other women says

      He won an award following my complaint that was not anonymous. This man made me and my friends afraid. He broke my head to the point of PTSD. I don’t get where you saw someone lost his job. Marcy was not fired. Krauss either. They never faced any real consequences even though their abuse has been known for years. At some point, sexual violence exists and bragging about how a woman cannot make the difference between discomfort and violence is exactly why you don’t understand the problem. No one is that over dramatic. Young women are looking for mentors – not to destroy the lives of the men they are supposed to trust. I worked and studied with men before getting at that school and never had a single problem. If you lack object constancy get yourself checked – your issues should not be the responsibility of other people and women certainly don’t deserve it. Your statement is clearly affirming you could be a victim of young women as if men really had issues to their careers because of their behavior towards women. To believe any complaint, anonymous or not, ever had any impact on the career of powerful men (when they get promoted over being abusive) is delusional.

  42. This kind of hearsay, without corroborating evidence, really isn’t worthy of of the term “study.” It’s either the innocent work of people without a critical thought in their head – and no knowledge of any number of debunked “studies” wading into the same pitfalls – or it’s cynical, ideologically motivated manipulation. The first is a student project in how to design surveys (and get an F), while the second is a political campaign. Lame shit, which ever way you turn it.

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