New website sheds light on sexism against female premiers

Kathleen WynneKathleen Wynne's swearing-in ceremony earlier this week was a pretty big deal.

Wynne became Ontario's first female premier, and Canada's 11th female first minister. Her victory is a good sign that gender equality is slowly making its way into the political realm.

But while women have come a long way in politics, a new website reminds us that there's still a long way to go.

[ Related: B.C. premier draws criticism for using her son in ‘Family Day’ ad ]

The website titled 'Madam Premier' chronicles sexist comments on Twitter, Facebook and online discussion boards about our country's female politicos.

Most of it is too nasty for us to post here.

But here's a sampling of the 'cleaner' stuff posted on the site from Twitter:

"Just saw the new Christie Clark commercial on TV. If she's gonna embrace being a MILF she needs to pop open a few buttons on that shirt"

"@Kathleen_Wynne let's talk about your mental illness - being a lesbian tree hugger"

And from an online forum:

"Alberta Mayor Alison Redford is an aging, sexually frustrated old #$#%"

The website also makes reference to former NDP MLA David Schreck's online query of whether or not Christy Clark was showing too much cleavage in the B.C. legislature.

Sexist anti-social media

There's also a Tweet regarding a reporter asking Kathleen Wynne about her choice to wear a pantsuit on the day of her swearing-in ceremony.

[ Related: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveils her new ‘fresh-face’ cabinet ]

'Madam Premier' is the brainchild of British Columbia's Diamond Isinger, a communications specialist and B.C. Liberal party member.

"I happen to be of the belief that sunlight is probably the best disinfectant for this kind of nonsense from people," Isinger told the Vancouver Province.

"It’s kind of a neat platform to name people so we can shame them and embarrass some of these, honestly, online jerks into a little bit more respectful behaviour."

York University’s Dr. Jennifer Jenson told Metro News that Isinger's website does a good job illustrating that sexism in politics is still a problem.

"When you see it this way [on 'Madam Premier'], it’s a literal documentation of the different kinds of people who feel compelled to say derogatory things about women in power," she said adding that male politicians are treated differently.

"We never say ‘did you see the bulge in the Premier’s pants?’ That kind of statement doesn’t get tweeted."

Certainly horrible things are written about Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney on a daily basis but the comments aren't sexist.

These comments — featured on Isinger's site — are ones keeping highly qualified smart women away from the political realm.

(Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press)

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