The institute said in its statement that some of its regulations prohibited the wearing of work or “sportswear” in public areas. Such rules should ensure that people in public areas such as the exhibition halls and the ship bridge comply with hygiene and safety standards. The dress code was re-discussed in the context of other rules, the institute said, adding that there was no link between harassment and “repeated admonitions to adhere to the dress code”.
The institute added: “Women and men participate equally in our polar expeditions and are supported in their work equally by the ship and aircraft crews we employ.”
When Ms. Harvey’s report spread on social media, he was outraged by scholars and science journalists who said it fitted into a broader, long-standing pattern of inequality.
While the inequalities women face in science are widely recognized, there is not much research on the topic. A 2019 study by the American Society for Microbiology of the Impact of Gender Bias on Women in Science found that women made up half of the U.S. workforce with college degrees in science, but held 28 percent of jobs in those professions .
A 2014 academic experience survey conducted by Plos One, a peer-reviewed open access journal, found that of the more than 500 participating women, 71 percent were sexually assaulted and 26 percent were sexually assaulted. According to the survey, female trainees were the main targets and the perpetrators were typically older than them on a research team. Not many participants knew how to report such episodes, and most who reported episodes were not happy with the result.
Erin Pettit, a glaciologist at Oregon State University, said she was “stunned” after learning of the dress code on board the Fedorov. “Usually the type of dress code, which is a safety issue, does not wear scarves that would get caught in anything, loose clothing, no hair instead of hair,” she said. “Things that will cause you physical harm if they get caught in a wrench or the like.”
Women in science often struggle against microaggression from their peers, said Dr. Pettit. “It is exhausting to put that extra energy into making sure that you are not forgotten as a co-author on a piece of paper, or to make sure that you get a vote at the table and that you are not passed over.”