Societies can combat harassment

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Science  19 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6275, pp. 791
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4216

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Imagine a student presenting a poster at a scientific meeting, thrilled when a senior scientist stops by to view the work. Chances are good, given the continuing underrepresentation of women at senior levels of academia, that the senior scientist is male. If the student is also male, he likely has no doubt that the senior scientist wants to learn more about the research. If the student is female, she may wonder: Does he want to get acquainted with my work, or me? This is the scenario that Meg Urry of Yale University, current president of the American Astronomical Society, posed during a session on “Forward Focused Ethics—What is the Role of Scientific Societies in Responding to Harassment and Other Workplace Climate Issues?” at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2015.