There have been strong reactions across the whole statistics community to a recent posting (“Statistics, we have a problem”) that describes a young woman’s experience of sexual harassment at conferences, as well as online.

Many of us can probably relate to the sense of “open secret” that has tacitly allowed some members of our profession to take advantage of positions of power to harass others, usually though not always junior females. The recent examples from the entertainment industry of individuals saying “enough” is a positive step in the right direction and it is not surprising that reports of inappropriate behavior have started to emerge from other sectors as well.

Open dialogue is healthy and positive. We need to foster a culture where individuals feel confident to call out bad behaviour, without fear of reprisal. Just as important, perhaps even more so, is for all of us to call out inappropriate behaviour when we see or hear about it being directed towards others. It’s not funny… Its destructive and painful. As a society, we value and indeed cherish the richness that comes from having a diverse membership that includes women in all our ranks, from the most junior to our top leadership positions. We must have zero tolerance for any behaviors that hurt any of our members or hinder that diversity. “