Facing the Giant: A Framework to Undo Sex‐Based Discrimination in Academia

In 2019, American workers reported 26,221 claims of workplace harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nearly half of those claims represented sex‐based harassment. The #MeToo movement has shined a spotlight on the pervasiveness of harassment across sectors and institutions. A 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine indicates that 58 percent of women in academic institutions, for instance, have experienced some form of sexual harassment. In this article, the authors propose a three‐part framework to establish a culture of zero tolerance of sexual harassment. The framework helps academic and other institutions prevent sexual harassment, protect victims from risks of reporting harassment, and set accountability measures to demand justice. The utility of the framework is twofold. First, administrators can apply it as a tool to audit institutional attitudes toward sexual harassment. Second, leaders can apply it as a corrective tool to prevent permissive organizational climates that allow sexual harassment to be perpetuated.

In 2019, American workers reported 26,221 claims of workplace harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nearly half of those claims represented sex‐based harassment. The #MeToo movement has shined a spotlight on the pervasiveness of harassment across sectors and institutions. A 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine indicates that 58 percent of women in academic institutions, for instance, have experienced some form of sexual harassment. In this article, the authors propose a three‐part framework to establish a culture of zero tolerance of sexual harassment. The framework helps academic and other institutions prevent sexual harassment, protect victims from risks of reporting harassment, and set accountability measures to demand justice. The utility of the framework is twofold. First, administrators can apply it as a tool to audit institutional attitudes toward sexual harassment. Second, leaders can apply it as a corrective tool to prevent permissive organizational climates that allow sexual harassment to be perpetuated.

Categories: Civil Rights, Gender Equity, Public Administration, Public Policy