Online trolls target Atlantic Business Magazine for special edition on women

Negative online comments about an issue of Atlantic Business Magazine have the publication's editor pushing to give women more coverage.

Editor shocked by 'incredibly negative and actually shocking comments'

Atlantic Business Magazine's special edition on women in business has an all-female cover. (Atlantic Business Magazine)

The executive editor of Atlantic Business Magazine says she was taken aback by negative comments about a recent issue dedicated to women in business.

Dawn Chafe said she has received some "incredibly negative and actually shocking comments" on Twitter ahead of the release of the new issue, which hits newsstands Thursday.

"People coming online and telling us that we needed to build a wall around businesswomen, that a lot of Canadian men are out of work because there's too many women in the workforce," she said Wednesday in an interview from St. John's, N.L.

"And that was some of the more polite comments."

Chafe said most of the comments have been deleted, except for a few.

An apology to businesswomen

She said it's that type of hostile reaction that shows the need to put more emphasis on the successes of women in this region.

"Frankly, if you had asked me a year ago did I think we even need this kind of issue, I would have said, 'No, hardly, not in Canada and not in Atlantic Canada. We're far too smart. We're far too advanced for anything like that,'" she said.

Now Chafe said she sees this cover as an apology to businesswomen who have been overlooked and she said the magazine will push to have more women in the magazine in future issues as well.

'We finally woke up'

More than 40 women — from designer Lisa Drader-Murphy to former federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough to Emera Energy CEO Judy Steele — grace the January-February cover.

Editor Dawn Chafe says she sees this special edition as an apology to businesswomen who have been overlooked (CBC)

"I guess after 28 years of producing magazines that have been almost exclusively about men in business, we finally woke up and realized we really needed to pay tribute to the amazing and intelligent and talented businesswomen that are out there in Atlantic Canada," she said.

While Chafe said she continues to be shocked by the negative comments, she said there have also been very positive reactions on both Facebook and Twitter.

She hopes those encouraging sentiments will reinforce the magazine's efforts to "normalize the idea of women in business leadership positions."