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I was very impressed by your decision to publish the April 2019 Back Page feature on harassment and troubling encounters at a DNP meeting as well as the May 2019 article "Yes, Sexual Harassment Still Drives Women out of Physics." This is an important issue that I am glad to see APS is willing to draw attention to and encourage discussion about.
I was less impressed, however, by the responses to these articles published in the ”Letters to the Editor” section of the June 2019 issue. Most troubling to me is that, although these articles speak largely to the experience of women in physics, the three letters that were published on the topic were all written by men. The deep-seated, sexist notion that men's opinions are worth more than women's is one of the biases that feeds the very issues APS News was trying to draw attention to with these recent articles. To see this troubling idea reinforced a mere month after these eye-opening articles, by the same news outlet that published them, is depressing to say the least.
If you have received feedback from women about your recent articles on harassment, please consider publishing them. And if you haven't received such feedback, please consider soliciting it.
The June issue of APS News featured three letters discussing previous issues' treatment of sexual harassment in physics. I was disappointed to see that all three letters were from men, two of them making all-too-common remarks to the effect of "well how do we know that sexual harassment is a real issue in physics?" The clear and persistent gender gap in our field should make it obvious that there are barriers to women's success in physics, and we should trust our female colleagues when they tell us what those barriers are. It worries me that APS News would choose to publish three letters from men, and no letters from women commenting on this issue.
Editor's note: I sincerely thank the authors of these letters for the feedback. As the June 2019 issue of APS News went to press, we had received only three letters about the articles cited and these were the letters we published. We encourage readers to send letters about any matters related to articles in APS News to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik