State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, hosted her annual “Night to Honor Women” this week in Joliet to discuss issues and recognize one “Woman of Distinction” in the community.
The evening culminated with Ines Kutlesa, the CEO of Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet, being honored as the “Woman of Distinction.” At Guardian Angel, Kutlesa leads a team that helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence, serves at-risk families and provides educational programming aimed at changing violent and abusive behavior.
Kutlesa also was one of the speakers at the program. She mentioned how disturbed she was while watching the hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when the two were in high school.
“These realities do not deter us,” she said. “They fuel our fire even more in the pursuit of justice.”
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, also was on hand to speak about being a woman in politics.
Bertino-Tarrant explained the difficulties in recruiting women because of things like “mom guilt” and the expectation of being the main child caretaker. She said the question she gets the most, and that her male colleagues don’t get, is, “Who watches your kids while you’re in Springfield?”
“I think we’ve heard tonight really why we need more women in politics,” she said.