Monday , July 26 2021

Survey finds bullying and persecution are systemic in astronomy and geophysics



black scientist

Credit: Unsplash / CC0 Public Domain

The results of a new survey of astronomers and geophysicists show that these sciences have a systemic problem of bullying; one that is disproportionately worse for women and minorities. In a survey conducted by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) last year among more than 650 people in the field, 44% of respondents had been bullied and harassed in the workplace in the previous 12 months. Ein O’Brien, a diversity officer, will present key findings in a report at a virtual national astronomical meeting on Thursday, July 22nd.

The main initial results show:

  • People with disabilities and ethnic astronomers and ethnic minorities and geophysicists are 40% more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled and white counterparts, respectively.
  • Women and non-binary people on the ground are 50% more likely than men to be bullied and persecuted.
  • In the last 12 months, 50% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and strange astronomers and geophysicists have been bullied, and 12% of bisexual astronomers have reported bullying at least once a week.

The RAS Committee on Diversity in Astronomy and Geophysics commissioned a survey, and O’Brien and Dr. Sheila Canani, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society for Education, Propaganda, and Diversity, conducted a survey for the Society and analyzed its results.

O’Brien said: “This is the first time such data has been collected in our industry. It is gloomy, unfortunately not surprising, but it is clear evidence that we need to improve the workplace culture in academia. it doesn’t help. Women and minorities feel pushed out. “

Professor Emma Bans, President of the RAS, said: “The results of the survey are really very worrying and we must act to change this unacceptable situation. The RAS is doing important work to uncover these facts and we strive to work with the community to urgently improve the astronomy environment.” and geophysics “.

Dr. Natasha Stephen, Chair of the RAS Committee on Diversity in Astronomy and Geophysics (CDAG), said: “Our RAS community is becoming more diverse, but far from equal. This survey highlights the inconsistency of experience in our global community We recognize that these predominantly cross-cutting issues cannot be resolved overnight, but the CDAG will work with RAS staff and the general public to understand and address these systemic issues. “

The data were collected as part of a broader survey covering the experiences of suffering and witnessing bullying and harassment, as well as workplace culture in astronomy and geophysics. The full results of the survey will be published by the RAS later this summer.


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Provided by the Royal Astronomical Society

Citation: Survey finds bullying and persecution are systemic in astronomy and geophysics (2021, July 21), obtained July 21, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-survey- bullying-astronomy-geophysics.html

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