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The CSWA Survey on Workplace Climate

Presentation #502.16 in the session “Plenary Panel: Workforce Townhall”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
The CSWA Survey on Workplace Climate

In planetary science, the dominant lived experience and cultural constructions (including power and influence) of the field are white, cisgender male, and straight. The majority of scientists holding positions of high power, influence, or rank in planetary sciences do not hold minority identities. This presentation looks at the results from the CSWA Workplace Climate Survey, an internet-based survey of the workplace experiences of 474 astronomers and planetary scientists between 2011 and 2015.

From Clancy et al., 2017, in nearly every significant finding, women of color experienced the highest rates of negative workplace experiences, including harassment and assault. Our results suggest that the astronomy and planetary science community needs to address the experiences of women of color and white women as they move forward in their efforts to create an inclusive workplace for all scientists.

From Richey et al., 2019, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual, asexual, and nonbinary (LGBTQPAN) women and gender minorities in this sample reported a high rate of observing negative remarks, as well as directly experiencing verbal harassment and physical harassment in their astronomy and planetary science workplaces. Not only did LGBTQPAN women and gender minorities observe more homophobic and transphobic remarks than their cisgender, straight female peers, they were more likely to feel unsafe at work due to their race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. They were more likely to be verbally harassed due to sexual orientation & gender identity.

Finally, we will present the recommendations from both of these papers, which largely reference the American Physical Society LGBT+ best practices report [Ackerman et al., 2018], and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, & Medicine (2018) report on sexual harassment. With this, we seek not only to highlight a problem but also to provide a path toward a more inclusive and equitable scientific community.

  1. Clancy, K. B. H., et al., (2017), DOI:10.1002/2017JE005256

  2. Richey, C. R., et al., (2020),

  3. Ackerman, N., et al., (2018), arxiv:1804.08406

  4. NASEM (2018), DOI:10.17226/24994

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