Elaine Chao: Women can’t let harassment hold them back

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Tuesday that women who have experienced sexual harassment or other misconduct in the workplace can’t let the experience ruin their lives. 

Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said at Politico’s Women Rule Summit that fixating on mistreatment after it has occurred “holds you back” professionally.

“I will fight for other women and I will stand up for other women, but, of your own, you gotta let it go,” Chao said. “Because otherwise, it’s too corrosive, it’s too negative, and it does you a double injury because it holds you back.”

{mosads}She made the comments after saying she had her own “#MeToo” moment of experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Chao declined to identify the harasser, only noting that the person is still active in the workplace.

“The person is still here and they’re still around,” she said. “Things change, times change, and it’s not worth my while to go back and revisit those negative moments.”

Chao added that experiences of misconduct in the workplace such as hers are “a dirty little secret that a lot of women have held for a long time.”

The fifth annual Women Rule Summit began Tuesday and included several other speakers who touched on the “#MeToo” movement in their remarks. Chao joined fellow Trump administration official Kellyanne Conway at the event, as well as Democrats such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.). 

This story was updated at 3:41 p.m.

Tags Cabinet Elaine Chao Feminism Human sexuality Jackie Speier Kellyanne Conway Kirsten Gillibrand Me too Mitch McConnell Sexual assault Sexual harassment Transportation Secretary workplace

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