Female candidates say they are targeted because of their gender

MONCTON, N.B. – Female candidates running in this election are speaking out against what they say are gender-based incidents that have happened along the campaign trail.

Tammy Rampersaud is the Liberal candidate in Riverview and says her problems started earlier in the summer, when someone dropped off a derogatory note at her office.

The note targeted her for running as a woman.

Last week, someone left another derogatory note on her back door.

“This is a shame because there are so many people who are welcoming,” she said. “We need true representation and we need balance and we need to have more women involved.”

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Rampersaud says she’s also been approached while canvassing.

“A gentleman had approached me in a black SUV and was threatening in this instance,” she said. “He had told me if I wasn’t careful I was going to get hurt and that I was playing a game with the big boys.”

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Rampersaud’s not the only woman facing this on the campaign trail.

Stephanie Tomilson is also a Liberal candidate running in Rothesay.

She says several of her signs have been vandalized.

“There was some graffiti to four of our 4×8 signs which was really too bad and the words that were on them were such that they had to be taken down immediately,” she said. “They were quite sexist and derogatory.”

Rampersaud and Tomilson say the issues they’ve been having aren’t representative of their experience.

But the Associate Director of the Moncton YWCA says the messages are a reminder that there aren’t enough women in politics.

“To see something this explicit is a little bit shocking,” said Beth Lyons. “But at the same time we know that women are underrepresented in politics.”

Lyons says changing the system could prevent these problems.

“It’s a culture of politics we need to change,” she said. “Structures and institutions we need to change and misogyny we need to change.”

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