Bush, Harmon discuss gender equity at Gatehouse Media panel

bush harmon 120618State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) discussed the state’s progress toward gender equity at a panel in Springfield on Wednesday.

The panel, hosted by the Better Government Association and Gatehouse Media, asked participants to examine the progress made since the start of the #MeToo movement and what else needs to be done. Senator Jil Tracy and Rep. Carol Ammons also spoke.

Bush said she struggled during her first four years in Springfield, feeling like her thoughts and opinions did not carry as much value as her male colleagues. But, she said, the cultural shift of the past few years has affirmed her value, and she hopes it has for all women.


“It’s really about women stepping up, in a respectful way, and owning their own power,” Bush said. “And when you believe something is wrong, it probably is.”

Harmon said the #MeToo era is holding men accountable and requiring them to examine the ways in which they have or have not been inclusive.

“What I think is happening is a cultural shift that has allowed, and in some cases forced, men to ask the question ‘have we been complicit in a system that marginalizes women, ignores their voices and does not fully embrace and appreciate all the people participating’?” Harmon said, “And I think that conversation is critically important.”

Bush also discussed her omnibus sexual harassment prevention bill, Senate Bill 577, which she plans to reintroduce in the spring session. Among other things, the bill extends protections against harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act to independent contractors and prohibits the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent the reporting of sexual harassment or assault. Bush said she hopes the legislature will focus more on the private sector next session.

View more of Bush’s and Harmon’s remarks below.


Sen. Melinda Bush

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31st Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education; Environment and Conservation (Chairperson); Government Accountability/Pensions; Revenue; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (AP); Sub. on Tax Exemptions and Credits; Sub. on Interscholastic Athletics; Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Born March 18, 1956; former member of the Lake County Board, Forest Preserve Board and former Grayslake village trustee; married (Andy) with one adult son (Chris).

Associated Representatives:
Joyce Mason
Sam Yingling