In the beginning of his career, Trudeau was often called his mother’s son as an insult. The Canadian prime minister responded to this at the Summit, saying, “It was a way of dismissing me. I used to say, ‘Yes, thank you, I’m so proud of that.’ Her strength, her sense of justice, and her brilliance have shone through her as a mother all her life. I’m incredibly proud to be her son.”
Trudeau was raised in an environment that taught him to respect women, and his views today reflect that upbringing. He is proud to be like his mother because he recognizes the strength of the women in his life.
During the Summit, Trudeau talked to Tina Brown about his experiences and his worldview. As he reflected on his traveling as a child, he posed the question, “Is someone going to stand up for what they truly believe in?”
We all believe that women should be treated equally, but many do not know how to take action. Trudeau acknowledges we cannot make progress unless we actually work towards what we believe in.
Trudeau’s cabinet is 50 percent women. Because of this, he spoke about the importance of including women in positions of power. He said, “It isn’t just the nice thing to do, it’s the smartest thing to do.” A diverse set of experiences and perspectives is important in the success of a business or a country. Trudeau noted that companies that are more balanced between men and women are more successful and have higher revenues.
He went on to say, “We can’t just talk about how women need to be empowered without talking to the people who unfairly still have more power—the men. The men have to be part of the solution.” Trudeau recognizes that men have to be part of the movement towards equality. Women alone will not be able to achieve this.
Similarly, women and men must work together in order for everyone to succeed. In Canada, his balanced cabinet has led to “a level of depth of conversation and approach to solving problems that leads you to a much better place.” Depth of conversation is important because it leads to varying opinions and viewpoints.
Because of the success Trudeau has experienced in his own cabinet, he said that women need to be encouraged to run for office.
“You ask a man, do you want to run for office, his first question is, ‘Where do I start?’ You ask a woman, she says, ‘Really? Why me? Do you think I’m good enough?’” The difference in the perception of women in politics is counterproductive to the success of a nation, as Trudeau points out with this scenario.
Men and women need to change their perceptions of power and strive for more equality in office. Until both are able to change their expectations, we will not be able to reach the statistics that Trudeau knows to be the most successful.
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