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New report highlights female economist harassment

Since the emergence of the #MeToo movement, multiple industries have been taking efforts to eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. For some companies, coming up with methods to decrease bad behavior is more effective when they know how big the problem currently is.

In April 2018, the American Economic Association (AEA) sent out a survey to over 45,000 workers asking them to describe their current workplace climate. Over 9,000 chose to respond, and the results showcase how large the discrimination gap is between male and female workers.

Chaotic climate

One of the more disturbing facts revealed is that more than 250 female workers claimed that one of their coworkers or employers attempted to sexually assault them within the past decade. Even those that weren’t still didn’t receive the best treatment at their jobs. Markets Insider has narrowed down some of the key findings from the responses of the men and women in the survey to these percentages:

  • 48 percent of women and 3 percent of men claimed they were discriminated based on their sex
  • 69 percent of women and 43 percent of men felt that their work was not taken seriously enough
  • 42 percent of women and 13 percent of men were subject to sexual harassment

The website also highlights how there is a significant gender gap in economics, as there are far more male employees that have higher positions in their companies than women. Thousands of economists in the survey also claim they’ve experienced racial discrimination at some point during their jobs.

The cleanup

After examining the results and discovering the scope of their problems, the AEA announced that they’ll be taking the following steps to improve workplace safety:

  • Adopt a code of professional conduct
  • Authorize their Committee on Equity, Diversity and Professional Conduct
  • Develop a new website to provide a safe space for discussion
  • Organize sessions designed to support female and minority economists
  • Approve formal policies on harassment and discrimination
  • Fund an AEA ombudsperson
  • Take extra efforts to ensure no candidates for the Executive Committee have not violated the code on harassment or discrimination

It’s an ambitious plan, but only time will tell how much this eliminates discrimination or harassment for thousands of economists. In the meantime, those working in California’s economic industry should know who to contact when they experience harassment at their workplace if their employers and coworkers aren’t on their side.

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