sexual harassment a problem at Coast Guard Academy

Associated Press

NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT - A new report concludes that sexual harassment is a
significant problem for female cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.

  According to the report, titled "Women in the Coast Guard," the
stressful environment of the academy exacerbates problems common to
male-dominated institutions.

  "This, coupled with the feeling among some of the men that it is
acceptable to reject women, can create an environment in which sexual
harassment can be expected to flourish," the report states.

  Coast Guard researchers interviewed about 200 cadets and graduates of
the academy, where 60 percent of the Coast Guard's female officers were
commissioned.

  Many men interviewed at the academy acknowledged they didn't want women
in the Coast Guard in general and the academy in particular, the study
reports, and female cadets said they keenly felt the male ambivalence to their
presence.

  "Some said that they felt the men saw them as 'female mutant cadets,' a
sort of 'third sex' as opposed to the 'real girls' brought in for academy
dances.  They also mentioned openly sexist comments by some members of the
faculty and staff," the report states.

  "In the opinion of many women who have been there, the academy is a
bastion of male chauvinism fueled by an old-boy network reaching beyond the
academy itself," the report states.

  The report found evidence of male chauvinism at the academy in a
systematic bias in the class ranking system.

  Although grade-point averages for women and men are close, the final
class standing is also based on subjective evaluations and women do not fare
as well in such evaluations.


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