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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 23, 2018. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Keynote feminist

Justin Trudeau takes his gender equality message to Davos

By WITW Staff on January 23, 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered the keynote address Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and called on the world’s corporate leaders to hire more women and make a concerted effort to solve the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. Trudeau used his speaking time to tout the power of the #MeToo, Time’s Up and Women’s March movements.

“Sexual harassment in business and government is a systemic problem and it is unacceptable,” Trudeau said. “As leaders, we need to recognize and act to show that, truly, time is up. We must each have a well understood process in place to file allegations of workplace harassment. And when we receive those complaints,” he continued, “we must take them seriously. As women speak up, it is our responsibility to listen and, more importantly, to believe.”

The push for gender equality is hardly new with Trudeau. He made headlines by appointing a gender-equal cabinet when he took over as prime minister and has been evangelizing for equality ever since, including during two visits to the Women in the World stage last year, first at the New York Summit in April and then again at the Toronto Summit in September.

On Tuesday, Trudeau, standing in front of a sign that read “Committed To Improving The State Of The World,” also called out companies that “have single-mindedly put the pursuit of profit before the wellbeing of workers” and vowed that the 10 remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership would uphold their commitment to free trade agreement despite President Donald Trump, who is slated to speak in Davos on Friday, having pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

This year’s World Economic Forum is also significant because, for the first time in nearly three decades, the conference is being co-chaired by all women. The gathering of business leaders has long been a male dominated affair, but this year, it’s being chaired by International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde, IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, general-secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow, chief executive of French energy supplier ENGIE Isabelle Kocher, director-general of the Switzerland-based European Organization for Nuclear Research Fabiola Gianotti, and founder and chair of India’s Mann Deshi Foundation Chetna Sinha.

Watch highlights from Trudeau’s speech below.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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