Has Belinda Stronach’s coverage been sexist?
By Dan Perry
The recent launch of former Magna CEO Belinda Stronach’s
campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party of Canada has
spurred a great deal of media interest, but how are critics
“Some of the media attention surrounding her is typical,” said
women’s studies lecturer Kim Verwaayan, adding that how
Stronach looks and what she is wearing is part of a long history
of how females in the public eye are identified. “This
is what Belinda Stronach is experiencing.
“There are some politicians who are calling for more
attention to her platform,” Verwaayan said, adding this
is a “good” thing, as Stronach should be elected
based on her ideas, not her hairstyle.
Paul Nesbitt-Larking, professor of political science at Huron
University College, said he was concerned there was a lack
of fair media coverage. “I’m kind of anxious at
the way she’s being treated in the media. There are comments
being made about her that are pretty cutting and unkind — some
of them have been sexist.”
“Canadian politics has not been very welcoming to women,
especially at the federal level,” said Western history
professor Monda Halpern. “Women have had more success
locally rather than nationally. She’s in for a fight.
“Politics for women has been an uphill battle — they
just haven’t had the resources or money. The political
sphere has a long way to go in making women feel welcome in
national politics,” she said.
Halpern also referenced Kim Campbell’s short reign as
prime minister in 1993, saying there are many cases where female
politicians have inherited faulty political parties and then
been only to be blamed for the ensuing disasters.
Nesbitt-Larking noted a trend in Canadian political history
that may, however, work in Stronach’s favour in the upcoming
“The first thing to remind ourselves of is Canadian
political parties have always been leader-centred; this gives
an advantage to a leader who can come along and inspire people
with something bold and new,” he said.
—with files from Anton Vidgen