Story after story documents the widespread sexual harassment experienced by women in STEM fields. They share the same lurid component of a man in a position of power who feels, “inexplicably attracted” to a young woman with whom he has a professional relationship. Women are caught off guard and often find themselves asking if they did anything to warrant this kind of sexualized attention. They wonder if they should respond to the first email sent where declarations of lust are made. If they don’t will it all go away?
According to A. Hope Jaren, it won’t and doesn’t. As a professor, she often counsels young women who find themselves in these often career ending situations, and she points to them as the reason that women may enter the field but too often don’t stay because of the prevalence of sexual harassment.