Death Threats for “The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test”
Updated: Sep 28
Earlier in the summer, shortly after we launched Herstory, we proudly celebrated our very own Canadian leader -- Dr. Bonnie Henry. Not only did she lead our province with grace and calmness, she instilled confidence in British Columbians by her quick, smart decisions that helped the province transition out of lockdown with relative ease. She was featured in Time Magazine, where the headline read, “The Top Doctor Who Aced the Coronavirus Test” and she was celebrated Canada-wide.
Until she wasn’t.
Just as she became an overnight celebrity, she started to get hate messages from her people. As more and more restrictions began to lift, Dr. Henry worked with her team on the third phase of the lockdown whereby folks could get out of their immediate bubbles and start to see friends and extended family while social distancing. The key was “social distancing”.
As expected, infection numbers started to rise again. The reality is that the purpose of the lockdown was to ensure hospitals and the healthcare system had enough resources to support people sick with COVID-19. It was never to completely eliminate the virus within the province - which could have been possible, but not realistic.
Interestingly, as the number of cases increased, people’s confidence in the same Dr. Henry started to fade. Why? Is it because she failed our system or our people? No! Is it because she was a woman?
Sadly, yes. As it turns out, it was her gender that was targeted. Now the same kindness and empathy had turned into weakness.
In her own words, “I've had to have security in my house. I've had death threats. How do we deal with that?”
How did she go from being a “top doctor” to receiving death threats, we wonder?
“Now the same kindness and empathy had turned into weakness.”
One recent incident also sheds light on the topic of gender based online bullying. Kori Sidaway, a Vancouver Island news anchor for Chek news, was criticized via email for showing “cleavage” on the channel. The email also included a photo of Sidaway alongside that of a woman with deep cleavage saying, “What you think we see and what we actually see." Here’s Sidaway’s clap back.
Unreal, isn't it?
Women face much criticism based on gender and appearances as opposed to male counterparts.
In our experience, we have found that as women, we face much criticism based on our gender and appearances, as opposed to our male counterparts where the focus is mostly on their talent and career.
The reality is that with any job or position, there is room for praise and constructive feedback. And as a public official, you’re bound to get bad press. There is, however, NO ROOM for death threats, harassment, or bullying based on gender.
We need to do better -- as a society and as individuals. We need to stand with her and with each other. And, we need to tell her story to change herstory.
We want to share, challenge, and celebrate Canadian women in today’s workforce. Join us. Please send exceptional stories of women we should know to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week.
Thanks for reading.
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