Trudeau: The feminist who practises what he preaches
By Diane Cooke
Justin Trudeau may well have gone over the top when he interrupted a woman's speech to say she should be saying 'peoplekind' rather than 'mankind'.
But, in the grand scheme of world feminist issues, it's of little consequence. What's more important is that Canada's president is very much on the side of women and makes it obvious when it counts.
Like when he addressed the World Economics Forum in Davos and said, namechecking the #metoo and #Time'sUp campaigns: "These movements tell us that we need to have a critical discussion on women’s rights, equality and the power dynamics of gender… Sexual harassment, for example—in business and in government—is a systemic problem and it is unacceptable. As leaders, we need to act to show that truly, time is up.”
Speaking at a UN summit focusing on women in 2016, he said he will continue saying he is a feminist "until it is met with a shrug."
Mr Trudeau's cabinet has an equal number of men and women, and he was calling on world leaders to follow his government's lead.
In September last year, Trudeau called for a movement of men who stick up for the rights of women, saying they must shut down "locker room conversations".
“Being a feminist for me means recognising that men and women should be, can be, must be equal and secondly, that we still have an awful lot of work to do" he told a crowd gathered for a United Nations (UN) youth empowerment campaign in New York.
He added that he was "proud" to stand as an "advocate for He for She", a UN movement "of men standing up for women."
He added: “We need to know that we are better than that. How we treat our sisters, our girlfriends, our cousins, our mothers and the world around us matters. We need to take back what it is to be a man and that means being open, compassionate, respectful and brave about standing up for it.”
Everyone’s favourite head of state wrote an article for MarieClaire.com in October last year on why he’s raising both his daughter and sons to be feminists.
He explained how he worries for his daughter Ella, because “in Canada and around the world, women and girls still face violence, discrimination, stereotypes that limit them, and unequal opportunities that keep them from achieving their dreams.
“It is maddening to me that my brilliant, compassionate daughter will grow up in a world where, despite everything she is as a person, there will still be people who won’t take her voice seriously, who will write her off - simply because of her gender.”
And it was a few years ago when Trudeau was talking to his wife Sophie about raising their daughter as a feminist that she turned to her husband and said: “That’s great - but how are you raising your sons to be strong advocates for women and girls, too?”
That was when the penny dropped.
“Gender equality is not only an issue for women and girls,” Trudeau wrote.
He explained that he didn’t want his sons, Xavier and Hadrien, to bow to pressure to be “a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men and to the people around them,” but rather he wants them to be comfortable being themselves and being feminists.