Speed Reads


Science magazine told a student to 'put up with' adviser looking down her shirt

Science magazine's career site fielded a troubling message Monday from a post-doc student joining a new lab, with a new adviser.

"Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt," the student, presumably a woman, wrote to advice columnist and scientist Alice Huang.

Huang responded by saying the unwelcome advance probably wouldn't qualify as unlawful sexual harassment, and that she should just, well, deal with it.

"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," Huang wrote. "Just make sure that he is listening to you and your ideas, taking in the results you are presenting, and taking your science seriously."

After people expressed outrage, Science took down the article and posted the following retraction note:

The Ask Alice article, "Help! My adviser won't stop looking down my shirt," on this website has been removed by Science because it did not meet our editorial standards, was inconsistent with our extensive institutional efforts to promote the role of women in science, and had not been reviewed by experts knowledgeable about laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. 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. [Science]

So, why don't more women pursue careers in science?