End Gender Harassment in STEM

500 Women Scientists Philly Pod
3 min readSep 10, 2020

The 500 Women Scientists Philly Pod went to Harrisburg, PA on November 18, 2019, and lobbied for a number of important issues. These one-pagers were given to our representatives outlining our recommendations.

Percentage of types of sexual harassment experiences among female university employees.[1]

More than 41% of college graduates in the sciences are women,[2] but women during their education and careers has been less successful, and many women cite gender harassment as the root cause.[1] According to #MeTooSTEM, 26% of women are assaulted during fieldwork and 50% of women in medical school experience sexual harassment. 90% of women experience retaliation when they report their sexual harassment.[4] Retaining women in the workforce benefits society, the economy and science.[8] The NASEM report devotes an entire chapter to recommendations on how to prevent sexual harassment and assault in STEM fields.[6] We need legislation at the state and federal level to set strong standards that protect women in STEM. Anti-Harassment policies (like Title XI) are insufficient, and the process of reporting sexual assault and harassment prevents most people from starting the process.[1,5,7] We at the 500 Women Scientists Philly Pod support legislation that protects victims and prevents further harm to students.

H.B.1620/S.B.498 Support Anti-Harassment legislation at a state level
State legislation not only set important precedents, but it can start real change immediately. The state of PA is currently voting on “Sexual Harassment Training” (SB498) and “Preventing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace” (HB1620). SB498 bill aims to increase training in the workplace. “An employer shall provide interactive training regarding discrimination, harassment and retaliation to all current employees.” HB1620 requires businesses to extend “the amount of time a person has to file discrimination complaints with the PA Human Relations Commission.”

Our recommendations:
✳ Enact legislation at the state level that “require employers in [state] to adopt written policies and procedures for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation”
✳ Protect and support victims of sexual harassment by providing policies that enable them to report without fear of repercussions.

H.B. 1495/S.B. 295 Protect students at the beginning of their education at a state level
Women beginning their education should not be victims of sexual assault in any way. Requiring higher evaluations of education institutions and enabling easier reporting will help prevent further harm to those students. HR1495 requires an “Annual Report Card on Sexual Violence and Harassment” from all higher institutions. SB295 provides an “establishment of sexual harassment and sexual violence online reporting system by postsecondary institution.”

Our recommendations:
✳ Evaluate all campuses to understand the extent of campus sexual assault which will enable us to create strong legislation preventing further incidents to occur
✳ Support legislation that enables victims to easily and anonymously report assault and harassment.


  1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24994
  2. NASEM, Committee on Women in Science and Engineering Statistics: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/pga/cwsem/PGA_049131 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-nations-fare-in-phds-by-sex-interactive1/
  3. PBS NewsHour, March 6, 2019, How NIH plans to fight the sexual harassment that could drive women away from science: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-sexual-harassment-in-the-sciences-could-deprive-the-field-of-female-talent
  4. MeTooSTEM: https://metoostem.com/
  5. 500 Women Scientists Summary of NASEM, Why there is no Institutional Justice: https://500womenscientists.org/nas-summary#institutional-justice
  6. NASEM Recommendations to prevent sexual harassment and assault: https://www.nap.edu/read/24994/chapter/2#5
  7. Title IX Isn’t Working: Nine Necessary Actions to End Sexual Harassment Culture in STEM, January 14, 2016, BethAnn McLaughlin, PhD. https://edgeforscholars.org/title-ix-isnt-working-nine-necessary-actions-to-end-sexual-harassment-culture-in-stem/
  8. Mindy Storrie. 2012. The New Business Imperative: Recruiting, Developing and Retaining Women in the Workplace. Kenan-Flagler Business School. http://execdev.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/hubfs/White%20Papers/Recruiting%20Developing%20Retaining%20Women%20-%20Formatted%20-%20v5.pdf



500 Women Scientists Philly Pod

The Philly Pod of 500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization founded in February of 2017 with a vision to make science more open and inclusive to all.