Women often face harassment in workplaces. One in three women has experienced it at some point in their lives. However, according to a new study, women of color face more harassment in the field of astronomy than any other group.
A total of 474 women were surveyed in the report, which revealed 40 percent of women of color reported feeling unsafe in their workplaces because of their gender. Twenty-eight percent of the respondents also said that they feel unsafe because of their race.
The report also showed that around 18 percent of the women said that they skipped at least one class, professional event, field work opportunity or meeting just because they were worried about their safety.
"This isn't something anyone can point to and say, 'These results are padded by something that happened in 1967.’ These are all current issues that women of color are facing right now. They’re feeling unsafe today. They’re skipping professional events today,” said Kathryn Clancy, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and lead author of the paper.
According to another 2015 study, women earn more than half of all the bachelor's degrees in the United States. However, only a mere 25 percent of them decide to join science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions.
The industry already faces a massive gender imbalance and hostile work environment will push women to move away from the field altogether.
“The study really reinforces a lot of what the literature already tells us — that women of color are more likely to experience multiple forms of harassment and feel more acutely the impact of a hostile work environment in the sciences," said Zuleyka Zevallos, a sociologist at Swinburne University in Australia.
Zuleyka further added, “A lot of the pushback that we see in the individual scientific communities — astronomy or any other science — is that scientists want data. And even though there’s a plethora of data, it’s like they need to see more data for themselves."