Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Help SGMA Assess Institutional Gender Identity and Expression Policies



At the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Diversity Summit last fall, its Committee for Sexual-Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA) decided to take on the project of improving institutional policies regarding gender identity and expression across the field of astronomy. We are starting that project with a request to readers of the Women in Astronomy blog to let us know the policies at their institution. I have set up a web survey to accept your answers. No personal information will be recorded.

As examples, here are the policies of three institutions with which I am affiliated, used in my first post to Women in Astronomy almost two years ago. They haven't changed since then. Note that only the AAS includes gender expression, which covers not just gender identity, but those who may not act or dress the way people in their assumed gender are expected to. Note that complaining about harassment is an explicitly protected activity at the Smithsonian.
The Smithsonian Institution is committed to ensuring that [all] individuals associated with the Smithsonian are treated equitably in an environment that is free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), age disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, or sexual orientation. [Source] 
Harvard University provides equal opportunity in employment for all qualified persons and prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability unrelated to job requirements, genetic information, military service, or other protected status. [Source]
... the AAS is committed to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. [Source] 
And here are some workplace harassment policies:
The Smithsonian Institution has a policy of zero tolerance for workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, marital status, sexual orientation or participation in protected activity. Protected activity is opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the statutory complaint process. [Source
It is the policy of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) that all participants in Society activities will enjoy an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. As a professional society, the AAS is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas. In pursuit of that ideal, the AAS is dedicated to the philosophy of equality of opportunity and treatment for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of Society meetings. Violators of this policy will be subject to discipline. [Source]