Susan K. Livio & Kelly Heyboer | January 28, 2020 | NJ Advance Media |
A newly formed committee of 11 prominent women in politics and government invited their female colleagues across the state Thursday to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and misogyny in New Jersey politics.
Using anonymous surveys, public forums and private meetings, the members of the Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics said they want to gather information to look for ways to change the “toxic culture” for women in the state’s political system.
“The challenge before us is how to ensure that women can come forward and share their experiences safely, privately and without fear of intimidation or retribution from those responsible for the harassment and abuse, from those with a vested interest in protecting the political careers of those responsible or from those who encouraged or allowed a toxic political climate to develop,” state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the committee’s founder, said at news conference in Newark.
The committee, which held its first press conference in Newark Thursday, was formed in response to an NJ Advance Media report published last month that included interviews with 20 women who described their experiences with sexual harassment, sexual assault and the marginalization of women in New Jersey politics. The report triggered calls from lawmakers for changes in Trenton.
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