Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to Victims of Workplace Harassment: You've Gotta Let It Go

And she’s right.

Elaine Chao, Transportation secretary and Mrs. Mitch McConnell, spoke at Politico’s Women Rule Summit, and I can promise, she scrambled a few minds with her very commonsense proposal to victims of workplace sexual mistreatment.


Chao wisely advised for those women who have suffered mistreatment on the job to put it behind them, in order to go forward in their lives, stating that “fixating” on the mistreatment holds them back.

“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.”

And I get what she’s saying. Successful people don’t waste time looking for boogeymen to blame for holding them back, even if the boogeymen are real.

Chao shared that she wasn’t speaking as someone who doesn’t have her own experiences with being sexually harassed on the job.

What’s more, the harasser is still active and on the job.

“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.”


Of course it is. I’ve dealt with it, myself.

And I’m sure somebody is going to try and make something offensive out of what she said.

They really shouldn’t. If the goal is to empower women and recognize their value in the workplace, that doesn’t happen by nursing and wallowing in the offense.

You have to be willing to frame it appropriately: This happened. It was wrong. I’m mad as hell. Now, time to get back to work.

This is the fifth annual Women Rule Summit, and other speakers include Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.).


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