News / Edmonton

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters names Sandra Jansen honorary member

They’re recognizing the MLA for standing up to gendered violence.

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is recognizing Sandra Jansen for calling out bullying of female politicians.

Canadian Press

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is recognizing Sandra Jansen for calling out bullying of female politicians.

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters has named MLA Sandra Jansen an honorary member in recognition of her speaking out against bullying in politics.

“The board felt that she was such an excellent role model for any woman or girl who has been subjected to bullying or threats or verbal abuse, and she stood up to it in a very courageous way,” said executive director Jan Reimer.

The organization names honorary members who have made a significant contribution to ending violence against women.

Jansen made headlines last week when she stood up in the Alberta legislature to read a sample of the gendered abuse sent her way since she crossed the floor from the PC Party to the ruling NDP.

After reading the messages — some calling her a “lying bitch,” “dumb broad,” and a “useless tit”— she challenged her fellow politicians to stand up against the attacks levelled at women in positions of power.

“It’s good to see so many women standing together to denounce this kind of misogynistic behaviour,” Reimer said.

Reimer is still the only woman to be mayor of Edmonton — she was elected in 1989 and led the city’s only female-dominated council — and said seeing Jansen stand up against the bullies is encouraging.

“Sometimes it makes me think we’ve got so much further to go in terms of the comments are made and the behaviours, but on the other hand, sometimes you see that kind of remarkable courage change things for the better.”

With all the attention on bullying in politics, the ACWS is making a challenge of their own to politicians: they’re inviting any interested MLAs to take their Leading Change training, which teaches participants how to tackle gender-based violence.

So far, Reimer said they’ve had police officers and CFL football players take the course, but no politicians.

Reimer also said the program would give politicians the tools to both recognize issues and intervene.

“We’re encouraging politicians and leadership candidates to pick up that challenge as well, and look at how they might lead change to end gender based violence,” she said.

“This is a ready made program that they could step into.”

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