Women of colour experience harassment in the space industry, study reveals

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A new study conducted in the field of space science has revealed that women of colour face harassment at work.

A survey in the ‘Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets’ concluded that 40 per cent of women of colour feel unsafe in the workplace due to their gender.

28 per cent of women of colour reported feeling unsafe because of their race.

The study reads: “In nearly every significant finding, women of colour 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 colour and white women as they move forward in their efforts to create an inclusive workplace for all scientists.”

The study, conducted over the internet, surveyed the workplace experiences of 474 astronomers and scientists between the period of 2011 and 2015.

Nearly 100 per cent of participants said they had witnessed racism, sexism or disparaging remarks, whilst almost 40 per cent claimed to have been verbally harassed at work.

Almost one in 10 had been physically harassed.

Of the coloured respondents, 22 per cent revealed that they had heard racist remarks from their supervisors. Almost all had seen their peers make racist comments.

The study added: “We are living in a time when advances in the culture of science could match the advances in science and technology.”

“More than ever before, we have the opportunity to create conditions for the best possible science to happen.”

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