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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Groups Focus On #MeToo In Campaign Workplaces

Panel Members: State Senator Melinda Bush, State Representative Carol Ammons, Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza

A panel is traveling across Illinois to hear about what it’s like to be a female in politics. The Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel is hosting listening sessions to hear about sexual harassment in the political workplace.

The non-partisan panel is led by Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Sen. Melinda Bush, and State Rep. Carol Ammons. 

Becky Carroll is Communications Director for the group. She says their findings on workplace sexual harassment can apply to all political races, not just in Illinois.

“I think human behavior is human behavior so we’re going to see this in different forms and different levels across the country,” said Carroll.

This organization is one of many focusing on female candidates.

Gender Watch 2018 is a project of The Barbara Lee Family Foundation and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers.

It's an organization that analyzes political gender dynamics. The group narrows in on voter perception statistics and highlights some hurdles that women political candidates must overcome.  Communications Director Amanda Hunter says the time is now to pay attention to women engaged in politics.
“There are more women than ever running for office, but there are more women marching  organizing, volunteering on those campaigns and on the front lines of a lot of different social movements right now in a way that we haven’t seen in a very long time," Hunter said.

While women must navigate a sometimes threatening workplace environment, Hunter said female political candidates must work harder than their male counterparts for voter favor.

"Voters will support a male candidate that they believe is qualified but they do not like, and they have to like a woman candidate in order to vote for her," said Hunter.

Gender Watch is analyzing women in politics ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel plans to create a report of their findings by Aug. 16, before the November election day. 

Upcoming panels will be held this month in Metro East, Springfield and Carbondale. Women can submit their stories and suggestions online at if they can’t attend a session, or want to register to attend an event, at https://www.aheapanel.org/home/ 

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