HomeAsian CanadiansTaiwanese-Canadian politician faces sexist remarks

Taiwanese-Canadian politician faces sexist remarks

A female Canadian politician was the target of sexist comments during a virtual event, Vancouver Sun reports. Bowinn Ma, a member of the British Columbia legislature, is now urging for change to open doors for more women and girls in politics. 

The video of the September call was leaked last weekend, News 1130 reports. In the video, Jane Thornthwaite, a member of the BC legislature, ‘roasts’ fellow politician and party member Ralph Sultan while also suggesting that Ma’s political prowess stems from her looks. 

“Bowinn is a very pretty lady and she knows that she’s got ‘it’ and she knows how to get Ralph ‘going,’” Thornthwaite said, met with chuckles and laughter. “Bowinn Ma and Ralph were stuck on the couch together. Very, very close together for almost the entire time.” 

“We were supposed to be networking and all this, but Bowen knows how to get you,” Thornthwaite continued, going on to discuss the pair’s ‘cuddling’ and referencing Ma’s ‘cleavage.’ 

The video was posted by podcast host Mo Amir and gained significant traction, Vancouver Sun reports. Thornthwaite eventually apologized via Twitter and said her comments were ‘flat’ and ‘inappropriate.’ She also expressed respect for Ma as a female politician who ‘[pushes] through glass ceilings.’ 

According to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia’s website, Ma is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and worked since the age of 15 to support herself through college. She eventually earned a Master’s degree in business from the University of British Columbia. 

Ma got her ‘first taste of public service’ as a college student who was active on campus and launched several initiatives. 

Ma addressed the incident on Monday, News 1130 reports.

“I appreciate the apologies that have been offered to me, but this frankly isn’t about me,” Ma said. “Comments like those that were revealed in the video harm all women, girls, and non-binary people in this province.” 

As a person of color and young woman in politics, Ma said she and many others have firsthand experience in being judged ‘not by their experience, not by their accomplishments, not by their potential, but by the way that they look.’

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