Sexual Harassment in the workplace – followup of #DontAskAlice

Some updates and followups for the bad career advice from science careers. #DontAskAlice took the internet by storm recently when an advice columnist for science careers responded to a question about unwanted sexual harassment by advising to just “put up with it, with good humor.” CLEARLY, that is not the way to deal with it.  Science careers has since retracted the “advice” and apologized:

The Ask Alice article, “Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt,” on this website has been removed by Science because it did not meet our editorial standards, was inconsistent with our extensive institutional efforts to promote the role of women in science, and had not been reviewed by experts knowledgeable about laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. We regret that the article had not undergone proper editorial review prior to posting. Women in science, or any other field, should never be expected to tolerate unwanted sexual attention in the workplace.

Phil Plait for Slate also provides a nice followup with his own advice, specifically for what role men can play in this type of ordeal:

But it’s important for men to speak up about this as well, so allow me add my own thoughts.

My advice is simple. Men: Don’t do this.

The keyword in “unwanted sexual attention” is “unwanted”. This whole thing could have been easily avoided if her adviser hadn’t done this in the first place.

And if a woman does ask you to stop doing something because it makes her uncomfortable, apologize and stop doing it. Don’t make excuses, don’t rationalize it. Just apologize, and stop. Listening to what she’s saying is critical. She knows what makes her uncomfortable, and you need to respect that.

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