So Canada now has a ‘gender based cabinet’, which means it is comprised of 50% males and 50% females.
Sounds good right?
I want to take a closer look at the speech Justin Trudeau made following the implementation of this gender based cabinet, and explain why I don’t agree with moves such as this one.
So he starts off his speech with saying his wife, Sophie, has helped him become a better advocate for women’s issues:
Sophie is a phenomenal mother, a fearless partner, and a committed advocate for issues facing women and girls. Tomorrow, she’s speaking at the Not The Cost event, hosted by the National Democratic Institute.
Good stuff. Okay, what are you going to do with this new awareness, Justin?
I know this firsthand. I’m here this evening because I helped to bring about Canada’s first-ever gender-balanced Cabinet. But we arrived at that goal only because of the years of effort that preceded it.
Perfect. Now how did you achieve this goal?
Here’s an interesting fact: studies have shown that women are 50% less likely than men to consider themselves potential candidates for elected office. We didn’t need a study to tell us that, though. We saw it firsthand every time we asked women to run.
When we’d ask a man if he wanted to run for office, he’d most often say, “When do I start?”
But we found that when we asked a woman the same question, her first reaction was different. Most often, it was surprise. She’d ask if we were serious. She’d want to know why we thought she was qualified for the job.
Those questions they’re asking are pertinent questions. I’d ask the same thing if you asked me to run for office. I’d ask what makes you think I’m qualified and I’d be surprised as hell you think I’d make a good candidate.
What we did to try to make a difference was launch a campaign called “Invite Her to Run.” We reached out through social media and other channels to ask Canadians to invite women they knew—women who were already making their mark as hard workers and community leaders—to put their name forward and run for office.
And to help interested women follow through, we had a process in place to help them figure out the next steps.
Other women came to public service after being asked… repeatedly.
So you badgered them until they agreed with you and ran. Are you seeing the problem with this yet?
If you ask a woman if she’d like to run (and I don’t understand why you think they need you to ask) and they say ‘no’, then that should be the end of it.
However, that wasn’t enough for Trudeau, he had a quota and an agenda to fill and therefore this man needed to tell women what they should be doing instead of what they decided to do.
Carry on, Justin.
As many of you know, I am a feminist, and proud to call myself one. I believe that women can do – and be – anything they want. But I also know that meaningful cultural change can’t and won’t happen when only half of the population works toward that change. Men need to act, to set examples, and be role models, too.
I never would have guessed you’re a feminist, Justin. Never in a million years.
The last bit of his statement really sticks with me.
“Men need to act, to set examples, and be role models, too.”
Isn’t this against feminism?
Why are you treating women like children who need a male role model in order to achieve their goals?
News flash: Women are capable human beings. They are intelligent, driven and fully capable of achieving political office if they choose. If they don’t choose to do so, then that’s fine as well.
I’ve always tried to make sure that my daughter feels empowered, that she understands that her gender does not – and should never – determine the limits of what she can accomplish. But Sophie reminded me that I need to spend just as much time and effort engaging my sons, talking to them about feminism and the importance of equality.
Men have a critical role to play in demanding and supporting this societal shift. We need to speak out in support of gender equality, and we need to get comfortable identifying ourselves as feminists.
Yeah, it’s not a cult.
You don’t have to identify as a feminist in order to value equality, women’s rights or society. Women don’t need you to tell them what they should be doing, whether that’s running for office or anything else.
Now, true courage, if you ask me, is when a woman decides to throw her hat in the political arena—even after witnessing the hostile environment that so often awaits her.
Or when you badger the shit out of her into doing it.
Politics is hostile no matter what. It’s a fucking rat-race. Your entire life will be examined.
True courage is fighting for that raise, because you know you deserve pay equal—or greater—to that of your male colleagues.
It takes courage to ask for a raise. I recently asked for one and I was scared shitless.
And why would I deserve pay greater than someone else based on gender? I mean, I might think I deserve more pay because I’m more qualified, have been at my agency longer etc, but never based on whether I’m a man or a woman or whether the other person is a man or a woman.
But there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. We need to do more to address issues that negatively impact women each and every day. Issues like pay equity, access to quality child care, and achieving parity, not just in Cabinet, but Parliament as a whole.
Well, we’ve already established that you can do something about pay equity, no matter whether you’re a male or a female. So that’s good.
Child care I’m down with talking about. I’m sure all parents will be happy when they can have access to affordable child-care. I know when I was raising my kids alone, child-care was always an issue. Many fathers and mothers I knew would decide not to work because there was no point. Once they paid their childcare costs, their pay would be almost gone.
And in our humility, we should always remember the extraordinary position of privilege we are in, simply by being gathered in this beautiful room, in this great city. We must use our privilege to be advocates for change, both within our own communities and on the international stage.
So these privileged 1%ers need to tell us plebs what do do?
These four values—empowerment, accountability, courage and humility—are not ones that we should embrace because they win us awards, or make us feel better about ourselves.
Yeah, I’m sure you didn’t badger women to join your cabinet because it makes you feel good or because it makes you look good. Never.
You have already admitted that when you asked them, they weren’t interested. Why can’t you let people make up their own minds about what they want to do with their lives?
Justin, you’re being ridiculous. You’re advocating for collectivism instead of equality of opportunity. When a man leaves that cabinet, are you only going to let another man in because you have to keep the 50/50 quota or are you going to allow the most qualified people to run, including women?
And same vice-versa.
I get it. You have good intentions but this is madness. And where does it stop? Do you just order men and women to do jobs based on numbers?
I’m in a field with about 10% men. When I go to a conference, I’m in a sea of women. I would never in a million years say that we need to fire 40% of those women and demand that men apply for those jobs, and then discount any women who applied, based on their fucking sex.
Do you not see how totalitarian that concept is?
If men want to apply for a job at my agency, they can. But not a lot of men want to work in social work. My class had two men in it.
However, there is nothing stopping men from taking the same course I took and applying for a job at my agency. If they’re qualified, they’ll likely get a job. If a woman applies for the same job and they’re more qualified, they will get the job and so on.
Tonight, I’m asking you to challenge those around you, your peers, your friends and most importantly the people who are not in this room.
After all, we’re all converts.
Jesus Christ. It’s a cult. We don’t need to be converted, Justin. That’s not your job.
And if they ask you if there is truly more work to be done, tell them to ask any woman they know.
Are you speaking for women now, Justin? Are you saying not one woman would disagree with you or this absurd initiative?
You shouldn’t be appointing people based on what genitals they have! You are regressing us backwards, Justin.
You did ask women and they said no. But that wasn’t good enough for you. Of course there is work to be done. There’s work to be done on all sorts of issues, and not just women’s issues. You don’t have to be a feminist to do it either.
This is a world leader. He is telling women what they should be doing and then going on to tell them they need a male role model in order to get there. He’s also trying to create converts.