Almost 30% of women in medicine experience sexual harassment

New research shows that while 4 percent of men in academic medicine endure sexual harassment, nearly 30 percent of women in the same field do, according to Reuters.

The finding comes from a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers surveyed 1,719 individuals who had received the National Institutes of Health's K08 and K23 grants — which give career support to young researchers — between 2006 and 2009. Around 1,000 recipients responded.

Here are three findings from the study and its related background.

1. Thirty percent of females reported experiencing sexual harassment of some kind — whether through unwanted sexual comments, attentions or advances — at some point in their career. Nearly 50 percent of these females claimed the experience had negatively impacted their career.

2. According to the new JAMA study, 70 percent of women said they'd seen gender bias in the workplace, and 66 percent said they'd personally endured it. Comparatively, 22 percent of males noticed a gender bias in the workplace. Only 10 percent of men said they'd personally experienced it.

3. A similar 1995 study found 5 percent of males and more than 50 percent of females in academic medicine faculty positions had experienced sexual harassment. Reshma Jagsi, MD, the lead author of the new JAMA study, pointed out that the women in 1995 had started their careers when less than 10 percent of medical school classes were female. "I really thought that harassment would be much less commonly experienced by women in our sample, who went to medical school when the proportion of women among medical students had exceeded 40 percent," Dr. Jagsi said, according to the report.

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