Jun 13, 2015
Alice Huang, microbiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
You’re a scientist. You’re female. Your adviser can’t seem to stop looking at your boobs.
What do you do?
There’s an advice column in the Science Careers section of the journal Science – It’s called “Ask Alice”. Their advice? You should probably “just put up with it”. That’s right, Alice Huang suggests you just put up with it.
This is Dr. Alice Huang, a microbiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Let’s go to the original question asked in the column: “I’ve just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the problem: Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt. Not that this matters, but he’s married. What should I do?”
Here’s part of the reply: “Imagine what life would be like if there were no individuals of the opposite—or preferred—sex. Well, like it or not, the workplace is a part of life. As long as your adviser does not move on to other advances, I suggest you put up with it, with good humor if you can. His attention on your chest may be unwelcome, but you need his attention on your science and his best advice.”
Thankfully, Science retracted the column, and replied with, “We regret that the article had not undergone proper editorial review prior to posting. Women in science, or any other field, should never be expected to tolerate unwanted sexual attention in the workplace.”
Good on you, Science, for retracting that awful advice and responding quickly and unequivocally. However you, Dr. Alice Huang, there’s just no excuse for such awful advice. None. – And for that, you have earned yourself a place as the Blue Streak Science A***ole of the Week.
Find this great website at www.bookdivasreads.com
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That’s it for this edition of the Blue Streak Science Podcast
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