Although sexual #harassment of women scientists has been frequently documented in #Science and other scientific journals, less has been written about the causes of the harassment. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Science is competitive endeavor. On the other hand, modern large scientific efforts, such as the development of COVID vaccines, require the cooperation of large and diverse groups of scientists.
- The workforce in science has changed. Women and Asian minorities have become more dominant in laboratories. Although scientists like to think of themselves as elements for change, many traditional scientists, i.e white males, find this change frightening.
- Personnel in science are generally part of tiered, hierarchal systems that foster hazing during "training" periods. In some ways the ranks in medicine (interns, residents, attending physicians), laboratories (graduates students, postdocs, research associates, professors), and universities (lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, professor) are similar to military ranks where sexual harassment is also a problem.
- New ideas are the currency of science. That makes those who have new ideas (ie. the young, women, minorities) threatening to those in power.
In GAMES FOR COUPLES, I tried to show the consequences of sexual harassment on women engaged in a scientific endeavor - the development of cultured meat (the so-called meat grown in a test tube) - while creating an exciting, but realistic murder mystery. So, enjoy the plot but think about the consequences of Me Too moments.