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ACS joins consortium to confront sexual harassment in the sciences

More than 50 societies have pledged to pool their resources for new intiative

by Linda Wang
February 19, 2019

The American Chemical Society has joined more than 50 other academic and professional societies in forming the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine).

The consortium aims to advance professional and ethical conduct, climate, and culture across the scientific fields. The initiative was announced on Feb. 15 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, and is being led by AAAS, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Geophysical Union.

Our goal is to leverage the collective power of a consortium like this.
Mary Kirchhoff,executive vice president for scientific advancement at ACS

The commission “will provide research and evidence-based resources and guidance to address sexual harassment in the member societies’ operations and more broadly within the fields they represent,” an AAAS statement says. “Initial work will focus on model policies and procedures for society honors and awards.”

“Sexual harassment in STEMM is something that impacts all of the scientific disciplines. Our goal is to leverage the collective power of a consortium like this,” says Mary Kirchhoff, executive vice president for scientific advancement at ACS. “By pooling resources and working together, we’re trying to identify what are the best practices in addressing sexual harassment that all of us can benefit from.” ACS publishes C&EN.

The consortium’s overall budget will be determined by the number of societies that join, with each society contributing funds on a sliding scale. ACS has contributed $25,000 to the consortium this year.

ACS’s participation in the consortium “demonstrates the society’s commitment to our core values of professionalism, diversity, and inclusion,” Kirchhoff says. “It sends a very strong message to our members, and to the profession as a whole, that it is a serious issue that we need to address more intentionally.”

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