SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “We were mad. I mean just really mad,” lobbyist Jodi Hicks said.
At least two Assemblymen and a state Senator told her clients, they no longer want to meet with female lobbyists.
They say they want to avoid being falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
“Excluding an entire gender from any kind of access that makes us and our careers successful, it’s not just wrong. It perpetuates the idea that this is a boys club,” said Hicks.
Hicks confronted the lawmakers. She says, they apologized and agreed not to ban women from meetings, under one condition.
“We said as we’re talking to the press, we won’t come forward with names so long as this issue is resolved,” said Hicks.
The issue with those anonymous lawmakers may be taken care of, for now, she says.
But the backlash over sexual harassment and abuse at the state capitol is far from over, according to employment attorney Micha Star Liberty.
Her client, an unnamed lobbyist, is now out of a job because she spoke out about sexual harassment. She says a Sacramento firm fired the lobbyist after she joined about 150 women, signing a published letter denouncing “bad behavior” at the capitol.
“[Her employer] said what most employers say when they’re savvy about the law. They said it was a restructuring,” Liberty said.
Liberty says it’s retaliation.
But other lobbyists say they’re experiencing a revolution.
Lobbyist Adama Iwu first spoke to CBS13 in October, when she started the “We Said Enough” movement.
She’s since been featured on the cover of Time Magazine, named one of the persons of the year for breaking her silence about sexual assault in California politics.
But Hicks says, women are still insecure about their positions in a male-dominated field.
“It’s unsettling I think for everyone,” said Hicks.
She says she looks forward to January when lawmakers come back from break. That’s when the Assembly and Senate plan to work on new rules, to make it easier for women to come forward and make an accusation, without fear of losing their job.