NEW YORK ― Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does not shy away from talking about being a feminist.
Trudeau has previously said he’ll keep publicly stating that he’s a feminist until he no longer gets a reaction. And when asked why he felt it was important to have a gender-balanced Cabinet, he famously answered, “Because it’s 2015.” His outspoken commitment to women’s rights and opportunities ― and to getting men on board with the cause ― continued during Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit on Thursday afternoon.
“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,” Trudeau said during a one-on-one conversation with Brown. “The men have to be part of the solution.”
Including women and promoting women into positions of power isn’t just the nice thing to do, it’s the smartest possible thing thing to do. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Trudeau also pointed out that giving women equal opportunities isn’t just right ― it’s economically wise.
“When we start realizing that including women and promoting women into positions of power isn’t just the nice thing to do, it’s the smartest possible thing thing to do, you start connecting in more meaningful ways to the workplace,” he said. “When you think about the number of great ideas that get left on the table because women entrepreneurs or innovators don’t have the kind of access to capital that is given to men on startups, this something that will directly leave us less successful as a society if we don’t figure out how to empower and include women in every area.”
And as Brown pointed out, Trudeau is a leader who invests in his principles. As President Donald Trump rolled back funding for women’s health care around the world with the expansion of the global gag rule, Trudeau pledged $650 million over three years toward international reproductive health services and sexual education.
At Women in the World, Trudeau affirmed his belief in a woman’s right to choose.
“If you empower women so they can, like a man, choose when and with whom to have a family,” said Trudeau, “empower them to be able to stay in school a few more years, [be] able to actually make choices around how they want to live their life, you’re empowering them so that the money we’re giving isn’t just maternal reproductive health, it’s also to maternal reproductive rights.”
He then repeated: “It’s fundamentally a question of rights.”