The profoundly disturbing revelations about now-former SciAm Blog editor Bora Zivkovic highlight the long-term, ongoing sexual harassment of woman in all professions. The problem is especially bad for women who break into mail dominated fields like MIT’s Nancy Hopkins. She told this story during a 2011 talk at BU on “Mirages of Equality.” From Nature Network Boston
“Mirages, she said, because laws that made discrimination against women illegal only got them so far.
“On the other side of that wall were a series of obstacles to women’s advancement that we hadn’t anticipated,” she said. One was sexual harassment, a topic in the news these days, but unfamiliar to Hopkins at the time.
The experience, however, was familiar. She recalled a day in her early career at Cold Spring Harbor when she met geneticist and Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick. He walked up behind her, she said, and put his hands on her breasts.
“I thought, how can I get out of this situation so he’ll look at my lab notebook, ” then realized, “When a man does that, it’s possible that he’s not interested in your lab notebook.”