Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, an avowed feminist, ventured into the White House for his first meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday. Trump is not an avowed feminist … but his daughter once told America that he’s not a sexist. Trudeau visited the White House less than a year ago for an official State Dinner, but things have changed dramatically, and the executive mansion’s current occupant is vastly different from his predecessor. Trump and Trudeau are also very different ideologically and — at ages 70 and 45, respectively — are members of different generations. So what might the two be able to agree upon?
The leaders of the neighboring countries shared a hearty handshake just outside the White House before sitting down to discuss a host of issues, including trade, immigration and a newly-formed joint task force aimed at promoting the advancement of women in the workplace and fostering entrepreneurship among women in both countries.
The task force, developed along with the help of first daughter Ivanka Trump, is called The United States Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs. It was formally introduced during a roundtable meeting at the White House attended by the president, Trudeau, Ivanka Trump, who sat right beside the Canadian prime minister, and several women CEOs and business leaders from the U.S. and Canada. Trump said the creation of the task force was important to ensure that “women can work and thrive” in the economy.
“Women are the primary source of income in 40 percent of American households, and households with children under the age of 18,” Trump said at the roundtable. “In order to create economic growth and lots of very good, well-paying jobs, we must ensure that our economy is a place where women can work and thrive.”
Trudeau followed Trump’s remarks, saying, “Whenever I sit down with a woman executive, I know that she has had to overcome significant barriers that exist, and therefore is likely to have, you know, greater insight into helping reduce those barriers for others. But also [to] be a formidable contributor to the success of the business and her economy.”
He added, “I think for me it’s not just about doing the right thing. It’s about understanding that women in leadership positions is a very powerful leverage for success, for business, for communities, and for our entire economy.”
According to The Associated Press,Trudeau’s office reached out to the Trump administration and proposed the idea, saying it was central to his agenda. And, as Quartz noted, a quick glance at the two leaders’ respective cabinets is revealing: Trudeau’s cabinet is 50 percent female while Trump has just three women (four pending another Senate confirmation) on his cabinet.