Misfits: Gender, COVID-19 and the Body Politic

Article 6 / 7 , Vol 45 No. 2 (Summer)

Misfits: Gender, COVID-19 and the Body Politic

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in many workplaces across the world, and Canada’s legislative assemblies were no exception. Bound by Westminster tradition and usually cautious when implementing new protocols, Canada’s parliaments were required to make substantial and far-reaching operational alterations in a short period of time in order for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to continue to fulfill their democratic responsibilities. In this article, the author examines how such changes affected this unique workspace for women. She employs and adapts the concept of “misfits” from critical disability studies to demonstrate how a work environment not initially established to accommodate women’s bodies suddenly made all bodies “misfits” as social distancing and capacity limits changed longstanding practices. The author concludes that the response to the pandemic demonstrates that parliament’s gendered traditions could be changed and such a dramatic and blunt method to implement change was arguably more successful at altering the gendered culture of this system than the long term increase in the presence and participation of women in parliament.

Kelli Paddon, MLA

First elected in 2020, Kelli Paddon is MLA for Chilliwack-Kent (British Columbia). This article, written in December 2021, was adapted from a capstone project completed as partial fulfillment of a Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies degree at Athabasca University. Paddon looks forward to future investigations and analysis of this unique workplace to inform our journey towards gender equity in our Parliaments.

The first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (LABC) was Mary Ellen Smith. Elected in 1918, she went on to be the first woman in the British Empire to be appointed to Cabinet – although with no portfolio of her own.1 Since then, the LABC has seen women serve as speakers, premiers, and leaders of three parties in both government and opposition. At the time of writing, almost half of LABC MLAs are women. Moreover, the Assembly has its second gender-balanced cabinet and, for the first time ever in North America, the government caucus has more women (29) than men (28). These developments came not as coincidence, but after years of research and concerted effort to increase the number of women candidates in winnable seats, and a policy commitment to equity by the New Democratic Party of British Columbia (BC NDP).2 When elected Members were called to session after the 2020 election, it was under Standing Orders3 allowing the hybrid model of legislature; most Members were attending via Zoom (videoconferencing) with only minimal in-person attendance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Adjustments were made and technology was utilized so that all Members were able to vote, debate, make statements, and participate with their images showing up on a screen in the legislative chamber.

This article will examine how the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in dramatic changes in how the Westminster system operated and to the LABC as a workplace. Specifically, it takes an interdisciplinary approach to ask what lessons can be learned about gender-sensitivity in the LABC as a workplace from the changes related to COVID-19 by integrating feminist and critical disability theory.

To explore this question, it is critical to consider the work that has been done in political science, women’s studies, history, law, philosophy, policy, and political psychology, with the lenses of feminist and critical disability theory. The article explores the concept of gender-sensitivity and its application to the LABC, and use specific examples of gendered behaviour, such as heckling and caregiving, to illustrate gendered norms and traditions of this workplace. It will also describe and integrate Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s feminist materialist disability concept4 of ‘misfits’ and ‘misfitting’ as a useful way to examine the disabling elements of a workplace lacking in gender-sensitivity or inclusion.

This article illustrates that the removal of most bodies from the physical workplace as a result of the “misfit” created by COVID-19 for all MLAs, resulted in changes in the gendered culture of the LABC, including the reduction or interruption of some gendered traditions – suggesting that gendered behaviour is a choice and not an inextricable element of the system. The application and integration of theories can offer important considerations for the LABC and other parliaments regarding the possibility of having successful legislatures that are more gender-sensitive, understanding the impact of traditions on workplace gender culture, and making choices about how these systems could move forward to be more inclusive and gender-sensitive workplaces.

This article was written approximately 22 months after COVID-19 became a real concern in British Columbia. Since that time, there have been multiple waves, phases, steps, and restrictions, as well as the introduction of vaccines. Almost every workplace in the province has changed in some way, for better or worse, temporarily or permanently. The LABC is no exception.

This work is also being presented from a very specific perspective, and the inextricable influence of lived experiences on the integration, interpretation, and consideration of the material needs to be framed. The author’s frame of reference is as a white, cis-gendered woman with no visible disabilities, who currently serves as a Member of Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (BC MLA). The LABC is the author’s workplace.

Women at work in politics

The LABC is part of the Commonwealth and operates using the Westminster system of governance. The literature outlines that “institutional norms and rules of these systems perpetuate and reinforce sexism and sexual harassment in politics.”5 These rules and traditions, whether written or habituated, protect specific norms of “the myth of neutrality and male logic of appropriateness, adversarial politics, daily debates in the lower houses, and the longstanding protection and rights under the practice of parliamentary privilege.”6 These rules and traditions make up the “institutional context within which female politicians work.”7

Lovenduski describes legislatures and Westminster systems as:

“gendered institutions” in which power, process and behaviour operate to favour the men who created them and were their sole occupants for so long. When women enter legislature, they enter masculine territory. They may or may not face hostile men, but they do face institutions that are constructed to exclude women.8

Although the nuance and culture may sometimes be difficult to describe or even pinpoint within the research, it is clear that as more women enter this traditionally male workplace, their “presence disrupts parliamentary norms of engagement and shines a light on the extent of male control alongside the hidden expectations inside parliamentary spaces”, it is noted throughout the research that “the mere presence of women, however, is not enough to change those norms.9

“Discussions of gender and politics in the present day must include a consideration of the charged atmosphere of our political culture.”10 The media, American politics, online vitriol, and academia have influenced the way we see politics as debates; research interrogating gender, race, sexuality, and ability has further expanded our frames of reference. Baick describes culture wars and that our political culture is a vague concept that encompasses “ideas, attitudes, and language”11 that is highly gendered and judgmental of the female, and although it is now open to women, the political climate is less than welcoming to them. Trumpian attitudes and discourse have saturated the popular culture, potentially creating further hesitancy on the part of women to participate. “Assumptions that politics is cut-throat and tough, and that politicians must have a “thick skin” in order to survive can be interpreted as code for women and racialized minorities to remain silent when they are treated unfairly or discriminated against.”12

One of the loudest examples of gendered culture and behaviour in legislature may be heckling. Heckling can be defined as “To call out in the chamber of the House of Commons [or Legislature] without being recognized by the Speaker.”13 This definition includes both positive and negative interruptions that interfere with the speaking of the Member who has the floor.

There is much research on the gendered nature of heckling as it relates to the content, environment, and oppositional nature of the tradition, as well as the targets and impacts.14 This tradition is both difficult to study and is extremely resistant to change; however, whether resistance to change is due to will or ability is unclear from the research. Research by Grisdale and confirmed later by Samara Canada, shows that the adversarial and disruptive tradition of heckling is not well-regarded by the public or some Members: “Heckling is much-maligned in spite of the obvious drama it introduces to the Canadian House. Never mind how unproductive it looks, or the self-destruction inherent in a job where hundreds of people yell at you in your own workplace day after day.”15 As for politicians themselves, when Grisdale explored the impacts of heckling in the house they found that:

A significant number of MPs reported that heckling causes them to participate far less frequently, or not at all, in the work of the House. In addition, many of the words used against fellow MPs in heckles are contrary to Charter values. These words include racism, ageism, sexism, religious discrimination, discrimination against physical disabilities and homophobia.16

The LABC is a unique workplace for many reasons. However, the fact “Parliamentarians are permitted, if not expected, to shout, belittle, taunt, and occasionally bully each other from across the aisle as part of regular daily ‘democratic’ debate”17 inarguably creates a culture that has, at the very least, significant risk of being perceived as unsafe or discriminatory by workers and guests. The perpetuation of this tradition, however, would suggest that there is value and appreciation for it in some quarters; the protection of the tradition adds weight to that suggestion.

A characteristic of Westminster systems is that they are extremely resistant to change. “The reality that some of these gendered norms are embedded within parliamentary precedent and convention and are therefore not written down makes them… particularly ‘sticky’ and resistant to transformation.”18 We have seen, however, international focus and attention on women in parliament, and an effort to transform these institutions into gender-sensitive workplaces.


There is a growing body of theory, literature, and research showing that although the number of women in Chambers/legislature/parliament impacts the participation, culture, and representation19 of women, there is still a huge amount of opportunity and need for improvement for the sake of equity and justice. Research also shows that gender-biased or so-called gender-neutral rules and traditions of parliaments and their inner workings restrict and reduce women’s access to legislature and undermine their influence.20

Recognizing legislatures as workplaces has brought much attention to the codes of conduct and practices within those workplaces. Nevertheless, beyond updating codes, there may still be significant blind spots and more work remains to be done For example, in Canada’s Interim Report on Moving Toward a Modern, Efficient, Inclusive and Family-Friendly Parliament, heckling was identified as a problematic practice “not conducive to a respectful workplace.”21 However, the practice was not altered or removed because the committee had the goal of “ensuring the longstanding conventions and cultures, which are the foundation of a legislature, are not unduly disturbed.”22 This sounds like a ‘reasonable man’ test where, in the name of tradition, we are called to ignore that there are also reasonable women.

As a result of the hard work and representation of so many internationally, gender sensitising parliaments is an increasingly held ideal and a growing area of inquiry. Work to advance these goals has been done internationally by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) for decades with the publication of a Gender-Sensitising Parliaments Report in 2001 and the Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and Checklist for Parliamentary Change in 2020. The report in 2001 “drew much needed attention to the political under representation of women relative to the population across the Commonwealth, caused by patriarchal attitudes and structures.”23 The CPA and CWP called for gender sensitive parliaments and defined them as: “A political institution that responds to the needs and interests of both women and men in terms of its structures, operations, methods, and work. It is one that has removed the barriers to women’s full participation and offers a positive example or model to society at large.”24

Although released during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPA Guidelines do not address the issues or opportunities of COVID-19 as they may relate to creating gender sensitive parliaments (GSP). Instead, there is a brief outline of the role of parliaments, and how reactions to COVID-19 need to be gender-responsive. Ashe has stated that the LABC could see benefit from undergoing a GSP audit including a full review of Standing Orders and practices.

Misfits with the Body Politic

While reading about the institutionalized barriers in Westminster systems of parliament, and the exclusive nature of legislature workplaces as a result of rules and traditions, it might occur to people familiar with various theories that these workplaces are not only highly gendered, but also disabling environments, specifically (though not exclusively) for women. Although it is important to not conflate concepts of gender and disability, or to appropriate the real lived experiences of persons living with disabilities, there is potential for greater learning and understanding by combining the theories of critical disability studies and feminism. Take for example the statement made by Young that “Women in a sexist society are physically handicapped,”25 which combines the concepts of both gender and disability as they relate to the bodily norm of white, male, able bodied, heterosexual.

Garland-Thomson crystalizes this connection with gender, the body, disability, and marginalization when she states:

Women, people with disabilities or appearance impairments, ethnic Others, gays and lesbians, and people of color are variously the objects of… discriminatory practices legitimated by systems of representation, by collective cultural stories that shape the material world, underwrite exclusionary attitudes, inform human relations, and mold our senses of who we are. Understanding how disability functions along with other systems of representation clarifies how all the systems intersect and mutually constitute one another.26

Each of the groups named above experience the disabling effects of society, although the identities that are being oppressed may differ or be compounded. The result of that oppression is that an individual is disabled by being separated from the norm; disabled by being outside of the centre of privilege, ability, and power; and disabled by being restricted from acting and holding identity within society’s centre as an autonomous individual with rights and freedoms. The disability resulting from being outside of this centre is a “certain kind of suffering – one doesn’t get fully constituted socially, one doesn’t get a place in the social order. So that’s a kind of dependency.”27 Being disabled by society (or a workplace), therefore, does not require an impairment as most often associated with the word disability, but rather disability requires “a society that only values people for the ways in which their bodies are efficient or fit the norms.”28

As previously mentioned, however, it is critical to not appropriate or further diminish those who identify as persons with disabilities as they are most commonly understood, and so the feminist materialist disability concept of ‘misfits’ and ‘misfitting’ introduced by Garland-Thomson become extremely useful in our understanding. In this conceptualisation, Garland-Thomson describes how a body ‘fits’ or fails to fit based on the qualities assigned to that body in relation to the male norm:

Fitting occurs when a generic body enters a generic world, a world conceptualized, designed, and built-in anticipation of bodies considered in the dominant perspective as uniform, standard, majority bodies. In contrast, misfitting emphasized particularity by focusing on specific singularities of shape, size, and function of the person in question. Those singularities emerge and gain definition only through their unstable disjunctive encounter with an environment. The relational reciprocity between body and world materializes both, demanding in the process an attentiveness to the distinctive, dynamic thingness of each as they come together in space and time. In one moment and place there is a fit; in another moment and place a misfit.”29

When there is a reasonable fit, a person can move through the workplace successfully and navigate the circumstances, conditions, and demands of the environment in a relatively neutral manner. Where there is a misfit in time or space, however, access to resources, information, relationships, status, power, and justice may be compromised or denied, differences become apparent, and the distance from the norm may be cumulative.

COVID-19 and Tradition

When COVID-19 interrupted the typical functioning of the LABC workplace, it did so by creating a risk – a misfit – between the bodies who worked in the legislature and the workplace – all bodies. This misfit resulted in a universal need for accommodation, and although individual circumstances varied, none of the bodies involved were more privileged with regard to COVID-19 than another with regard to the workplace. This is perhaps an extreme illustration of Garland-Thomson’s description that misfits occur “when the world fails flesh in the environment one encounters – whether it is a flight of stairs, a boardroom full of misogynists, and illness or injury, a whites-only country club, sub-zero temperatures, or a natural disaster.”30 In this case, when the environment could not sustain the bodies safely, the result was a unique real-world situation where “misfitting captures a common lived experience that has the potential to teach us much more about ourselves, others, and our environment, than fitting can ever do,”31 and the experience transcended traditional identity categories normally found in the LABC workplace.

In order to accommodate the risks associated with COVID-19, the Standing Orders for the LABC were altered in such a way as to allow a hybrid session of legislature. Television screens were installed in the Chamber, a limited number of BC MLAs were to be allowed to attend in-person at any time, votes called during the course of the sitting day were deferred until the end of the day to accommodate for notice and access to technology, debates and statements were carried out via Zoom, voting could be done remotely by voice while on camera, and attendance on Zoom was the manner in which most Members participated. All these events, as well as daily Question Period, were broadcast via Hansard to maintain the commitment to transparency and public access. Even before the changes were made, some members of LABC recognized the potential for culture change as a result of being forced to move to a hybrid model of legislature. Weeks before legislature was to sit for the first time using this novel method, MLA Andrew Weaver stated: “If we go back in history, some of the greatest advances in human civilization occurred after some of the greatest tragedies. Every challenge, I view, and I think others should too, through the lens of what opportunity does it create. That will be my focus going into this session.”32 Weaver also commented on the tradition of heckling, remarking that he expected to see a quieter, more respectful tone in the legislature: “If you are sitting at home, it’s kind of hard to get riled up, desk thumping, heckling. I don’t see how people will do that from home.”33

The conditions of COVID-19 made misfits of everyone working in the LABC, but as Weiss states: misfits should act “not as negative examples that reinforce the rigid boundaries of normality” but can serve to “challenge our conceptions of what is normal, what is natural, and what can and should be normative.”34 When COVID-19 forced change on a resistant system it created misfits of everyone, and perhaps demonstrated the potential of this unique workplace to be gender-sensitive. It forced inclusive problem solving with the common goal of preserving our democracy and required something entirely new to be considered and built for all bodies to fit. Weiss describes the potential of misfitting when he states:

The future potential will be more fully realized when we are willing and able to embrace changing “misfits into fits; these ‘fits’, as feminist theorists, critical race theorists, and disability theorists have shown us, cannot be ‘one size fits all’ majority models, but must be attuned to our specific bodies and bodily potentialities as well as the particular environment in which we live.”35

The changes to accommodate the workplace that is LABC during COVID-19 forced the system out of its own norms. There is wide understanding that the impacts of COVID-19 are disproportionately felt by those who are marginalized, including women, racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and carers. In legislature it is difficult to know the sum of all impacts once session was hybrid and most BC MLAs were virtual. Microphones were muted when not recognized by the speaker or voting. All could participate, all could vote, and the work of legislature was done for over a year with virtually no audible heckling. When heckling was done in the Chamber it could not be heard by those online, and when done from a virtual seat it was extremely obvious and out of place – no longer ‘normal’. However, despite the apparent civility, questions were still asked and answered in Question Period, business was conducted, the public was able to watch opposition hold government accountable. Even without interruptions and heckling, democracy did not crumble. It was demonstrated that it is possible to engage in vigorous debate and questioning without interrupting with heckling.

What also happened during this hybrid session was that most members where in their home constituency, including in their own homes, and close to their families. This had a significant impact for caregivers, who are predominantly (but not exclusively) female, as they could fully participate as representatives in legislature while also being home with a sick family member, caring for an aging parent, or accommodating changing childcare needs or schedules without being forced to take leave as was the norm before hybrid session. As we consider the focus on increasing participation and access for women and mothers36 the flexibility to balance caregiving while also fully participating in legislative session without stigma will be a critical area of investigation for future research and policy consideration.

Integration & Discussion

There is a lot to integrate in order to build an understanding that can address the question of what lessons can be learned about gender-sensitivity in the LABC as a workplace from the changes related to COVID-19, by integrating feminist and critical disability theory.

We cannot consider LABC without looking at the roots and the traditions of the Westminster system. This system which was designed by men for men and developed to be exclusive. The LABC is where laws are made, where government sits, where Question Period and debates occur – but LABC is also a workplace for the staff and BC MLAs who do this work. There is ongoing work being done internationally on GSP with checklists and guidelines on what a GSP looks like, but there are no requirements. This situation makes parliaments one of the very few workplaces where it is accepted, acceptable, and even sanctioned, to continue with gendered culture and behaviours that are not inclusive.

We cannot look at women in politics without also looking at how women get into politics, whether there is access, what type of representation exists, whether their presence helps to represent women, and whether there is a critical mass effect or backlash effect. However, we also have the lens of feminist theory that explores gender, access, representation, gendered behaviour, gendered culture, and systems of exclusion or oppression in a culture significantly influenced by Trumpian politics. While there are more women in our parliaments and legislatures than in previous decades, we must also be aware of the risk of “generating complacency and misplaced assumptions based on perceived upward trajectory in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary.”37

As we consider the disabling elements of the Westminster system for women, critical disability theory can be applied to the question as well, as it discusses the difference between localizing the disability in society versus in the body. We can see that when systems of discrimination or exclusion operate, the limitations or differences are part of the individual identity and the goal is to fix or accommodate the individual, not the system or society that disables. This can be re-integrated with feminist theory as well through the feminist materialist disability theory of ‘misfitting’; where the body and the environment are at odds creating an inability, lack of access, or lack of inclusion. This intersectional concept is especially useful in that it is inclusive of any disabling or marginalizing identity. The level of misfitting can be described as intersecting elements of gender, ability, race, age, ethnicity, sexuality, or others that may be relevant in a given time or place.

It took the dramatic and disruptive reality of COVID-19 to shake up traditions in the LABC as an institution. It created misfits of all actors and exposed vulnerabilities that are not traditionally felt equally.

Like the dominant subject positions such as male, white, or heterosexual, fitting is a comfortable and unremarkable majority experience of material anonymity, an unmarked subject position that most of us occupy at some points in life and that often go unnoticed. When we fit harmoniously and properly into the world, we forget the truth of contingency because the world sustains us. When we experience misfitting and recognize that disjuncture for its political potential, we expose the relational component and the fragility of fitting. Any of us can fit here today and misfit here tomorrow.38

As the disruption caused by COVID-19 lessens, decisions will need to be made to inform future directions. Many workplaces may maintain some of the changes implemented during the pandemic while others may be looking forward to a full return to pre-COVID-19 operations. In the case of LABC it seems clear that the changes required during COVID-19 in order to keep the workplace functioning had a positive impact on reducing gendered culture and behaviours in the workplace – at least partially. However, these improvements came at the significant cost of reducing in-person relationships and collaboration, as they required the majority of bodies to be removed from the physical work environment. Based on the considerations evaluated in this article, I would argue that the dramatic changes to tradition could or would only be made once all bodies in the LABC were misfits and the privilege of some bodies was made meaningless in the face of COVID-19. The by-product or side-effect of removing most bodies from the physical workplace – and with it the tradition of being physically present in the Chamber – was a reduction in the impact of the significant gendered elements of other traditions.

It is interesting to note that these traditions were all affected by a change to the Standing Orders, considering the CPA recommends a review of Standing Orders to create more GSP. There are multiple mechanisms available through the Speaker and Standing Orders that could have an impact on the gendered culture of the LABC, each altering tradition in a different way or at a different level. I think one would be hard-pressed to argue that there is no benefit to being present in the Chamber at LABC as opposed to attending virtually. Attending in person allows for the organic connections that sharing a physical space offers. However, attending virtually seems to have, at least temporarily, dramatically reduced the exposure to, and impact of, gendered behaviour. Is the priority to build collaborative relationships and opportunities, or to protect against sexism, discrimination, and gendered behaviours? It seems to me, that based on what we have learned during COVID-19 we are capable of adjusting traditions when it is required to conduct business successfully and safely. Therefore, we can have multiple priorities honoured and accommodated at once, and it is absolutely possible to have a transparent and accountable government as well as lively debate without heckling, yelling, and interruptions. For me this suggests that we could choose to prioritize in-person attendance as well as GSP by acknowledging the impact of heckling, interrupting, and yelling as detracting from our parliament, and banning it in Westminster parliaments that are committed to gender inclusion, including the LABC.

Another choice in front of parliaments is whether we continue to force carers to take leave and not participate rather than offer the option of attending proceedings remotely by maintain a hybrid system. During LABC’s hybrid model of COVID-19, votes were held at the end of the day and most MLAs voted and debated via Zoom. We have since seen a shift where the technology and equipment are still available, but utilized in a more limited way. Votes are no longer held at the end of the day, but over the course of regular business, and this seems to continue to work for those attending remotely for health reasons. The choice here may be whether tradition is more important than participation, keeping in mind that Westminster traditions were created to be exclusive. Parliaments will be left to decide whether work/life or work/family balance, and the representation it enables, is less important than physical presence, or what groups these workplaces are willing to continue excluding. Is the priority the politics of the institutional tradition or the politics of inclusion? Let’s not forget this is definitely about the politics of identity.


This article began by discussing Mary Ellen Smith, but did not finish her story. After years with an empty cabinet portfolio, unwelcomed advances, and comments on her looks and voice, Mary Ellen Smith walked away from parliamentary politics with a deep sense of disappointment. She was certainly not the last woman to enter and exit parliamentary politics expressing such sentiment.

The 2020 election brought 37 women to fill 42.5 per cent of the 87 seats in the Westminster system of the LABC. The province and world were still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was not the increase in women elected to the Assembly that had the largest impact on its gendered culture. The removal of bodies from the physical workplace as a result of the “misfit” created by COVID-19 for all MLAs resulted in at least temporary changes in the gendered culture of the LABC, including the reduction or interruption of some gendered traditions such as heckling. Not only did it demonstrate that these gendered traditions could be changed, but virtual attendance may have been a “great leveller because everybody’s in the same size box.”39 It is noted, with much consternation, that such a dramatic and blunt method was arguably more successful at changing the gendered culture of this system than the increasing presence and participation of women in the LABC.

There seems to be no doubt that the changes made to the workplace during COVID-19 had dramatic impacts on the work environment. The examples of heckling and caregiving discussed in this article are only two possible locations of impact. This topic and location are fertile ground for future research to examine qualitative and quantitative descriptions of changes to concepts of gender-sensitivity, access, and representation as a result of accommodations due to COVID-19. Questions could explore the perception of changes and whether they were perceived to have positive, negative, or neutral impacts for actors in the workplace, as well as for democratic representation. Future research should include data on the changes made in different parliaments, how those changes affected inclusion and GSP, what changes were kept in the long term, and whether there is room to further evolve these political workplaces. Research integrating the use of standing orders or policies, political science, psychology, gender studies, critical disability theory, and an understanding of the traditions of the Westminster system would be useful in evaluating guidelines suggested by CPA and CWP for GSPs. Interdisciplinary analysis drawing on rigorous conceptual exploration and interrogation would examine many facets of this remarkable period and apply lessons learned when moving forward in this and other traditional workplaces.


1 Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Significant ‘Firsts’ for Elected Women in British Columbia. Legislative Assembly of BC. 2021.

2 McMillan, R. Interrupting Tradition: The Impact of a Higher Proportion of Women in Canadian Legislatures. Victoria: University of Victoria, 2019 ; Praud, J. “When Numerical Gains Are Not Enough: Women in British Columbia Politics.” In L. Trimble, J. Arscott, & M. Tremblay (Eds), Stalled: The Representation of Women in Canadian Governments. Vancouver BC: UBC Press, 2013, pp. 55-74.

3 www.leg.bc.ca/content-parliamentary-business/Pages/Standing-Orders.aspx

4 Garland-Thomson, R. “Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept.” Hypatia, 26(3), 2011, pp. 591-609.

5 Collier, C.N and Raney, T. “Understanding Sexism and Sexual Harassment in Politics: A Comparison of Westminster Parliaments in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada.: Social Politics, 25(3), 2018, p.433.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Lovenduski, J. “The institutionalization of sexism in politics.” Political Insight, 16(9), 2014, p.16-17.

9 Collier and Raney, p.434.

10 Baick, J. “Nasty” Woman and “Very Happy Young Girl”: The Political Culture of Women in Donald Trump’s America. Western New England Law Review, 42(3), 2020, p.341.

11 Ibid., p.342.

12 Collier and Raney, p.449.

13 Samara Canada. Cheering or Jeering? Members of Parliament Open Up About Civility in the House of Commons, 2016, p. 3.

14 Grisdale, M. Heckling in the House of Commons. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 34(3), 2011, pp. 38-45; McMillan, R. Interrupting Tradition: The Impact of a Higher Proportion of Women in Canadian Legislatures. Victoria: University of Victoria, 2019; Samara Canada, 2016.

15 Grisdale, p.38.

16 Ibid.

17 Collier and Raney, p.449.

18 Ibid., p. 450.

19 Campbell, R. & Childs, S. Parents in Parliament: ‘Where’s Mum?’. The Political Quarterly, 85(4), 2014, pp. 487-492; Childs, S. and Krook, M.L. Analysing Women’s Substantive Representation: From Critical Mass to Critical Actors. Government and Opposition, 44(2), 2009, pp. 125-145; Lore, G. Women Legislators and Women’s Issues in British Columbia. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 31(4), 2008, pp. 26-27; McMillan, 2019; Praud, 2013; culture (Ashe, J. “Assessing Gender and Diversity Sensitivity at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.” Prepared for the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians – Canadian Region, 2020; Praud, 2013); and representation (Ashe 2020; Campbell, R., Childs, S., & Lovenduski, J. Do Women Need Women Representatives? British Journal of Political Science, 40(1), 2009, pp. 171-194; Childs and Krook, 2008).

20 Erikson, J. & Verge, T. Gender, Power, and Privilege in the Parliamentary Workplace. Parliamentary Affairs, 00, 2020, pp.1-19.

21 Ashe, 2020, p.17.

22 Ibid.

23 Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)/Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP). Gender Sensitising Parliaments Guidelines: Standards and a Checklist for Parliamentary Change, 2020. p.2.

24 CPA/CWP, 2020, p.3.

25 Young, I.M. Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990, p. 153.

26 Garland-Thomson, R. Integrating disability, transforming feminist theory. NWSA journal, 14(3), 2002, p. 9.

27 Butler, J. & Taylor, S. “Interdependence.” In Taylor, A. (Ed.), Examined Life: Excursions with contemporary thinkers, New York: The New Press, 2009, p. 208.

28 Butler & Taylor, p. 211.

29 Garland-Thomson, 2011, p.595.

30 Ibid., p. 600.

31 Weiss, G. The normal, the natural, and the normative: A Merleau-Pontian legacy to feminist theory, critical race theory, and disability studies. Continental Philosophy Review, 48(1), 2015, p.92.

32 Meissner, D. B.C. politicians return for ‘unique’ sitting of legislature during pandemic. The Canadian Press, CBC News Jun 21, 2020.

33 Ibid.

34 Weiss, emphasis added, p.93.

35 Ibid.

36 Campbell and Childs.

37 CPA/CWP, p.5.

38 Garland-Thomson, 2011, p.597.

39 Topping, A. “Work & Careers: How Online meetings are levelling the office playing field.The Guardian, October 22, 2021.