Policy and Advocacy: Further Resources

Further Resources on Sexual Harassment

The AWM Policy and Advocacy Committee has compiled resources on sexual harassment, which continues to be a problem according to reports by our members. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and is legally prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in schools. Workplaces and educational institutions are legally required to have non-discriminations policies.

If you believe you are the victim of harassment, write everything down (times, places, nature of the incident, witnesses, and comments made) as soon as possible. Save e-mails, notes, and etcetera. Tell someone you trust about the incident. Be as detailed as possible.

The sexual harassment complaint process differs from institution to institution. Check the website of your workplace/school and of the workplace/school of the alleged harasser to find these procedures.

Complaints can also be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and under state Fair Employment Practice statutes. If the harassment crosses over the line into the criminal realm (e.g., sexual assault and rape), you should report the incident(s) to the police. If you do decide to file a complaint, documenting the nature of the harassment or other forms of discrimination will be necessary. 


In the list of additional resources below items originating with government agencies and nonprofit organizations are emphasized. The Policy and Advocacy Committee would welcome suggestions of additional resources. 

The United States Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency charged with enforcing the laws against sexual and other forms of harassment. This FACT SHEET summarizes sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. It is charged with interpreting and enforcing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. 
This American Association of University Professors (AAUP) report was adopted by the AAUP’s Council in June 1995. The AAUP recognizes sexual harassment as a threat to academic freedom and the maintenance of ethical standards in the academy. The report outlines a sample sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure.
The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has compiled an extensive list of additional resources for people who have experienced sexual harassment. The AAS has adopted an Anti-Harassment Policy for Meetings and Activities and hosts a web page Advice for Dealing with Harassment.

Further Resources on 2011 PNAS article "Understanding Current Causes of Women's Underrepresentation in Science