Harassment In The Lab

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Original Air Date: 
December 02, 2017

Every day seems to turn up new revelations of sexual harassment. It's also happening to women in science. Many women have simply abandoned their scientific careers. Others waited years to file complaints until their own careers were launched. This hour we talk with several women who are fighting back.

Also, the story behind one of the twentieth century's most famous scientific experiments: the women who did pioneering field studies of the great apes. We'll hear how Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas revolutionized our understanding of primates. And playwright Laura Gunderson's project to reclaim the forgotten women of science.

Tents of scientists during Antarctic summer

When Jane Willenbring was a young scientist working in Antarctica, she was the target of constant hazing by her team leader. Years later, she filed a complaint. David Marchant was recently found guilty of sexual harassment by Boston University.


For years, women in science have battled discrimination, old boys’ clubs and gendered stereotypes. Now they’re blowing the whistle on sexual harassment, and some eminent career scientists are being held to account.

Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas

One of the most famous experiments of modern science was a series of pioneering field studies of the great apes. They were all done by women, chosen by legendary anthropologist Louis Leakey. Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas tell this amazing story.

Ann Bishop's Wikipedia page

Women are underrepresented on Wikipedia. So Emily Temple-Wood recruited people to write more articles about notable women. In return, she got rape and death threats. Now, every time she's trolled, she writes a new Wikipedia bio of a female scientist.

Ada and the Memory Engine.

Lauren Gunderson is currently the most produced playwright in America. And she has written at least half a dozen plays about the forgotten women who changed science. She says we're living in a golden age for these remarkable stories.

Featured in this Hour: 

This week’s show really inspired us as a staff to look at young women in the electronic music scene. And we are thrilled that we did!  If you liked the music you heard in the show, well, you will really enjoy the following videos.

Show Details 📻
December 02, 2017
August 18, 2018

Jane Willenbring


Erika Marin-Spiotta


Jane Goodall

Activist, Scientist, Animal Rights Activist

Birute Galdikas

Wildlife Biologist
Emily Temple-Wood

Emily Temple-Wood

Wikipedia Editor, Future Doctor
Laura Gunderson

Lauren Gunderson

Last modified: 
August 18, 2018