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NIH Survey Finds Ongoing Harassment

A US National Institutes of Health survey has found that 18 percent of employees there experienced gender harassment within the past year, ScienceInsider reports.

Last September, following the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's June 2018 report that found many initiatives to combat sexual harassment in the sciences have been ineffectual, NIH Director Francis Collins said the agency would be updating its harassment policy, making it easier to report harassment, and surveying staff about harassment there to guide new initiatives.

For the NIH Workplace and Harassment Survey, the agency surveyed employees, contract employees, trainees, and others working there between mid-January and mid-March of this year. According to the interim analysis, of the 15,794 respondents — a response rate of 44 percent — 21.6 percent reported experiencing a form of sexual harassment and 18 percent reported experiencing gender harassment in the prior year. Women reported a higher rate of harassment than men — 26.9 percent versus 12 percent — and members of sexual and gender minorities reported even higher rates of harassment. In addition, trainees were twice as likely to experience harassment than more established staff.

"This report provides further evidence that we have work to do in order to make good on our determination that 'harassment doesn't work here,'" Collins wrote to NIH employees in an email, according to ScienceInsider.