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Justin Trudeau at The United Nations, March 16, 2106. (U.N. Women/Twitter)
Justin Trudeau at The United Nations, March 16, 2106. (U.N. Women/Twitter)


Justin Trudeau says Twitter “explodes” whenever he says he’s a feminist

By WITW Staff on March 16, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at the UN’s 60th session of the commission on the status of women on Wednesday, where he discussed gender equality and why it should not be a big deal when he calls himself a feminist: “Why, every time I say I’m a feminist, does the Twitterverse explode?” he asked, explaining that it merely means he believes in the equality between men and women, yet the media keep asking him about it. “I am going to keep saying loud and clear that I am a feminist until it is met with a shrug,” he added.

Trudeau emphasized the importance of parental leave in his comments, and not just for mothers — Trudeau says he believes giving separate leave for fathers would greatly improve the flexibility of young families. Trudeau also said that Canada’s government is working to make Parliament more family friendly —  parliamentary travel requirements and sitting hours, for example, are a barrier for women with young children — and that it was time to update an institution “designed for old, white guys.”

Businesses also need to do more to encourage equality according to Trudeau. One solution, he proposed, “is just making people report explicitly on the gender balance within their organization…. that incentivizes positive behavior in meaningful ways.”

Such a suggestion would build upon a proposal, made in former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s last budget in 2015, that would require companies to either put a gender equality policy in place or publicly explain why they do not have one.

The 44-year old Prime Minister caught the world’s attention last year when he appointed a cabinet which consisted of equal numbers of men and women, and when asked about it by the press casually shrugged it off with “because it’s 2015.” During the hour-long discussion, the Liberal leader said he believed other governments should follow in his country’s footsteps, saying: “Any world leaders who tell me ‘I’d love to, I just can’t do that with the current configuration of our parliament or of my party’, I say: ‘Well, what are you doing to change that configuration and draw out those extraordinary women who can be leaders that we need?’.

Read the full story at Metro Toronto.


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