In Letter, Female Lawmakers Challenge Culture of Sexual Harassment in California Politics

A letter signed by more than 140 women who work in California’s legislature has shed light this week on the widespread nature of sexual harassment in many kinds of workplaces, in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual misconduct in the film industry and the #MeToo demonstration that garnered attention on social media this week.

Female lawmakers, staffers, and lobbyists sent the letter to the Los Angeles Times on Monday. The document stopped short of accusing any government employees by name, but was meant to bring women’s experiences in the California Capitol out into the open and show that that state’s government has work to do in ensuring a safe and respectful work environment for lawmakers and other workers.

“As women leaders in politics, in a state that postures itself as a leader in justice and equality, you might assume our experience has been different. It has not,” wrote the women. The letter continued:

Just two women who work in the Capitol were original signers of the letter, after a lobbyist confided in a colleague about in an incident of sexual misconduct —but the number of signers grew as word spread.