(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the sponsor of a resolution requiring sexual harassment training for all U.S. senators and their aides, indicated on Sunday that sexual harassment may explain why more women do not serve in the Senate or in other powerful positions.
Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” asked Klobuchar about her bill, which passed the Senate on Thursday.
Klobuchar called it a “first step.” The Senate will now look at possible changes in reporting requirements, she said.
Right now, Todd noted, victims of sexual assault in Congress have 180 days to report the incident, after which they must go through 30 days of counseling, then 30 days of mediation. And settlements, if there are any, are paid from a private U.S. Treasury account.
“We clearly need a new process,” Klobuchar said. “The thing was set up years ago, and the times have changed. And you wonder why we don't have more women in power -- when you look at processes like that and what's been going on all over the country.
“You know, there's 21 women in the Senate, Chuck, and we should have a lot more.
“You know, I have a dream that one day maybe we'll have more women in the Senate than there are victims of Harvey Weinstein's harassment. That could happen,” Klobuchar said.
“But when you look at how few women we have running big businesses or movie studios, you name it, a lot of this has to do with the fact that they've been pushed back. And I don't think this is all about toppling men, or about lewd stories, which we need out there so people understand what's going on, but we need work environments where women are judged on their merits, so they can rise up and be in charge. And that just hasn't been happening in a lot of these workplaces.”
Asked if she thinks the U.S. Congress is a safe place for women to work, Klobuchar said, “I think that there are always people misbehaving. Have I seen a lot of that myself? No. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't go on.
“And having rules in place, having harassment training, having a process that works where people feel free to come forward and report things, we know the statistics that a very small percentage of women and victims of harassment, which sometimes can be men, actually come forward and report. We have to change that.”