I suppose the NYT published this piece for International Women's Day, the purpose of which is to recognize women's accomplishments and celebrate their potential. But it seems to me, as a female scientist, that this article does the opposite. It's written by Hope Jahrens, a biogeochemistry professor at the University of Hawaii, who was contacted for advice by one of her former grad students after the student received an unwanted love note from her male supervisor.
Prof. Jahrens bemoans the insidious prevalence of such male/female interactions in science - most of which are never aired, she says, but when they occasionally come to light, "A great chorus of formal condemnation shall be lifted up, and my male colleagues will sputter with gall, appalled by the actions of bad apples so rare they have been encountered by every single woman I know."
Not to put too fine a point on it, Professor Jahrens, but this is rubbish. I'm in a very similar field to your own (ecosystem ecology); I've been in academia for the better part of two decades; all four of my academic advisors (bachelor's, Master's, PhD, postdoc) have been male; and I have NEVER - I mean NEVER - felt even slightly threatened or taken advantage of due to my status as a woman. Not by my advisors, nor by any other teacher, classmate, or student. I've had wonderfully supportive colleagues, male and female.
And if a male colleague did send me a message of unreciprocated affection, I would simply reply no thank you, not cower in the shadows indefinitely while his actions continued (as Prof. Jahrens seems to imply is inevitable). As the commentor "Female Scientist" says on the NYT piece: "This is not sexual harassment. In fact, this piece is damaging because it dilutes the real sexual harassment cases."
Yes, there are still major gender problems in academic science. Yes, sexual harassment should be treated with the utmost seriousness. Yes, tricky issues can arise when a senior employee courts a junior one. But I am indignant that Prof. Jahrens is presuming to speak for all female scientists. She does not speak for me.