‘Rockstar’ health officers showcase women’s leadership in COVID crisis

'Rockstar' health officers showcase women's leadership in COVID crisis
WatchHealth officers like Dr. Bonnie Henry are the public face of the COVID crisis and they're inspiring a new generation of girls. Tess van Straaten reports.

The female health officers on the front lines of Canada’s COVID-19 fight are getting lots of attention — and for all the right reasons.

British Columbia’s Dr. Bonnie Henry, Alberta’s Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and national chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam are just three of the public servants reaching rock-star status as they break down complex medical information and keep people calm at daily media briefings.

“I’m so excited to see women taking the lead and doing really amazing things and I think that will be so positive, particularly for young women who need to see it to believe it and to be it,” says Andrea Gunraj, vice-president of public engagement for the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Seven of the 14 provincial and national chief public health officers are women and major cities like Toronto and Ottawa also have women in key public health roles.

“To see half of the public health officers in Canada and more than 60 per cent in the US are women, I think this is a critical moment for people,” says University of Victoria political scientist and women’s rights advocate Janni Aragon. “It’s good for all of us to see women in positions of power.”

It’s hoped having women in these very public leadership roles will inspire young girls and women to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) — fields that have historically been male-dominated.

“Women and girls in STEM is increasing but it’s still really low and we at Canadian Women’s Foundation really prioritize building,” Gunraj  says.

((SU Vintage Style tribute)) “Dr Bonnie Henry we’re in love with you. We watch your daily briefing…”

And with tribute songs, like this one from Vintage Style, fan club twitter accounts, and their faces on T-shirts, these science superstars are already teaching us all an important lesson about crisis management.



Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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