Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes in gender equality.
Last year, when asked why he made a point of selecting a “gender-balanced” cabinet, he replied with a shrug and a simple line: “Because it’s 2015.”
He recently touched on another important gender-related topic: men’s role in supporting feminism.
On the Progress Towards Parity panel during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this year in Davos, Switzerland, Trudeau shared an important story about how he’s raising his own children.
He’d taken special care to raise his daughter in a way that allows her to feel empowered and confident, but it wasn’t until his wife, Sophie, said something to him that he realized how important it is to take the same care raising his 8- and 2-year-old sons to be just as aware of gender issues.
Because an equal society is one in which we’re all working to break down walls of oppression.
And that absolutely includes men’s role in acknowledging their own position in the world and how they can use that privilege to dismantle society’s patriarchal structure.
Now, fighting for gender equality already has a name: feminism. And as the prime minister is quick to say, it’s not a word we need to be afraid of.
Prominent men around the world are joining the fight for gender equality.
In 2014, President Barack Obama famously said, “If you’re a strong man, you should not feel threatened by strong women,” in response to a question about gender-based violence, adding, “All the men here have to be just as committed to empowering women as the women are.”
Last year, New York Magazine asked 15 male celebrities whether they consider themselves feminists. The answers were pretty encouraging.
“Oh, absolutely,” said Matt McGorry of “Orange Is the New Black” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” “Ultimately, if there were as many male feminists as there are female feminists, we wouldn’t need to be fighting for equality.”
“Yeah, because I like women and I respect women,” responded Harrison Ford.
The good news is that things are getting better.
The bad news is that progress is still going way too slowly.
If we continue at the current pace, gender equality — in terms of economic, social, and legal aspects — won’t be achieved until 2133. That’s way too long to wait, which is why it’s more important than ever that people of all genders, and especially men in positions of power, help support and create a level playing field where people of all genders can thrive.
Interested in more gender equality awesomeness? Check out the full video of Trudeau’s panel.
It also features Melinda Gates, Jonas Prising, Sheryl Sandberg, and Zhang Xin.