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Unsafe Feeling

Women of color report feeling unsafe working in the sciences because of both their race and gender, Buzzfeed News reports.

A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-led team of researchers surveyed 474 astronomers and planetary scientists to ask them about their careers and any experience with harassment, negative language, and safety. As Illinois' Kathryn Clancy and her colleagues report in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, they found that 28 percent of women of color said they've felt unsafe in their workplace due to their race and 40 percent of women of color said they've felt unsafe due to their gender. In addition, 18 percent of women of color said they've avoided professional events because they did not feel safe.

Buzzfeed News notes that the survey asked respondents about their experiences in the last five years. "This isn't something anyone can point to and say, 'These results are padded by something that happened in 1967,'" Clancy tells Buzzfeed News. "These are all current issues that women of color are facing right now. They're feeling unsafe today. They're skipping professional events today."

In their paper, she and her colleagues suggest that organizations adopt code of conducts and have diversity and cultural awareness training. They further say that institutional leaders should model appropriate behavior and that when complaints are lodged, offenders should be quickly and consistently reprimanded.