Trudeau joins Melinda Gates on panel about path to gen­der par­ity

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - DAVOS, SWITZER­LAND

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau pro­moted gen­der par­ity on Fri­day at the an­nual meet­ing of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, where four of five del­e­gates are men.

His pres­ence on a panel with Melinda Gates and Face­book COO Sh­eryl Sand­berg stemmed in part from the par­ity in the cab­i­net he named last year and his terse ex­pla­na­tion for that: “Be­cause it’s 2015.”

Trudeau said that be­fore he was able to pro­duce a cab­i­net with equal num­bers of men and women, his party did a lot of work on so­cial me­dia, and through email to en­cour­age women to run for Par­lia­ment.

He said the Lib­er­als asked peo­ple to rec­om­mend fe­male can­di­dates and they fol­lowed up. He said he per­son­ally con­vinced some women to run, in­clud­ing Chrys­tia Free­land, now his min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional trade.

He took aim at peo­ple who ques­tioned his selections and ar­gued that cab­i­net posts should be based on merit, not quo­tas.

“Once I dis­played the cab­i­net, no­body talked” about merit, he said.

Dur­ing an ear­lier event at the fo­rum, Trudeau told a group of young peo­ple that he wanted the gen­der par­ity and di­ver­sity in his cab­i­net to be the norm in pol­i­tics.

He said he hoped one day peo­ple wouldn’t think of the makeup of his cab­i­net as a nov­elty af­ter he was asked whether he made his choices for “di­ver­sity’s sake.”

“I look for­ward to a point where peo­ple don’t no­tice the di­ver­sity in cab­i­net, or that it’s 5050 men and women, that it’s just, yes, this is a govern­ment that looks like Canada and it will en­gage with Canada the right way,” Trudeau said.

Still, he faced ques­tions Fri­day about how much more Canada needed to do.

The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum’s an­nual re­port on the gen­der gap ranked Canada 80th out of 130 coun­tries when it come to wage equal­ity for women and 40th for the num­ber of women in pol­i­tics and key lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

“There’s a lot of hard work to do and the first part is rec­og­niz­ing it,” Trudeau said.

He said men need to be a big part of the con­ver­sa­tion to come to a so­lu­tion.


Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Sh­eryl Sand­berg, left, CEO and mem­ber of the Board of Face­book and Melinda Gates, co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion at­tend a panel “Progress to­ward Par­ity” at the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Switzer­land, Fri­day.

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