Threats against Bonnie Henry fuelled by gender and success, says expert

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Henry said she believed it was partly due to her status as a woman in a high-profile position, and that people feel comfortable targeting her in ways they would not necessarily do to male leaders.

“I sense that people find that it’s OK to do that for a woman who’s up front more so than some of our male leaders. But I could be wrong,” she said.

The panel discussion was on leadership during the pandemic and also featured Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and former Tsawwassen chief Kim Baird.

Henry also discussed the importance of trust and transparency in responding to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anderson said some people were having a strong response to the role government was playing in managing COVID-19.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are also men in similar positions as (Henry) today that are being threatened and subjected to harassment,” he said.

“But I also wouldn’t be surprised if she has received more and worse, partly because of how she has earned praise for how she has conducted her job, and partly because of her sex, two factors that together likely draw extra attention and anger from those who disagree with B.C.’s policies.”

Henry is the latest female figure to talk about the abuse women in high-profile positions face.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna has previously spoken about the threats she and others have faced, and called for new measures to better protect Canadian politicians from threatening behaviour.

A police investigation was launched last month after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff, with the footage posted to social media.

In 2017, Vancouver mayoral candidate Shauna Sylvester said she had faced a barrage of criticism about her gender and appearance.

with files from Canadian Press


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