I really love politics. I majored in Political Science in university and regularly watch the news and read online articles and newspapers to stay informed. I generally try not to talk politics on my blog, because this is supposed to be about my mommy adventures. However, I really want to break my rule this once and talk about Justin Trudeau and his decision to make 50% of his cabinet ministers female.
Trudeau’s decision has caused quite a stir in the media. People are speaking out and saying it isn’t fair if a woman was appointed to the cabinet simply because she is a woman. What if there was a more qualified man for the job? Oh no! A woman might have stolen a job from a man? What will we do?
In case you couldn’t tell, my voice was dripping with sarcasm. Why? Because how many times in life (not just politics) did a man get a job simply because he was a man, even though there were qualified women? There are simply too many examples to count. Men have regularly been taking jobs from qualified women, and it has been happening for a really REALLY long time.
It was just 100 short years ago that women in Canada were fighting for the right to vote. Imagine being told that you could not vote simply because of your gender. Essentially being told you aren’t smart enough or informed enough to make the decision. And it was only 90 years ago that five brave women launched the “Persons Case,” which was a long fought battle to give women the right to sit in the Senate. The Supreme Court of Canada actually ruled that women were not qualified persons for the Senate. Those five courageous women appealed and took their battle all the way to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, which at the time was the highest court for Canada; and they won. They were told they were persons and they could sit in the Senate. But to originally be told no, that you aren’t a person under the law, how truly sad is that? To be told that you are less than simply because of your gender.
So when I hear people saying that women might have taken a position from a qualified man, it makes me mad. It upsets me as a woman, as a mother and as a person. Because women are qualified and have been as qualified as men and have been denied the opportunity over and over throughout history. Which is why I think it is awesome that Justin Trudeau recognized that the cabinet needed balance and made it a point to have equal representation.
In fact, Canada’s cabinet ministers represent our country in so many ways. Half of our ministers are women. Half are men. Two of our ministers are people of First Nations. One minister is openly gay. One minister is in a wheelchair. Three of the ministers were born outside of Canada. One minister is blind. Some of the ministers are young while others are much older. They all have different religions, beliefs and backgrounds. But they serve a common purpose and all want what is best for Canada. The fact that we have such a diverse group of Cabinet Ministers shows that we are a country who is committed to connecting with and representing all Canadians. This group of cabinet ministers is exactly what Canada looks like.
Each Cabinet Minister was appointed because it was believed that they were the right person for the job. And even though there was a definitive plan in place to make sure that half of the cabinet was female, I truly do believe that those females are more than qualified and will go above and beyond to do the job to the best of their ability and make Canada proud.
I fully expect that not everyone will agree with what I wrote and many will still think that the positions should have gone to the most qualified person overall, regardless of gender or background. However, perceived qualifications will vary among different people. It’s not a black and white argument and there are many factors to take into account. Some will argue that life experiences go further than education, or vice versa. Others will argue that the younger cabinet ministers are not seasoned enough to know what they are doing. And some will be absolute bigots and believe that the job should have gone to a man. That’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just like Trudeau is.
So before you finish reading this article, remind yourself that it’s 2015 and that women and men are equals and are especially equals among Canada’s Cabinet Ministers.
In case anyone doesn’t know why I titled this post “Because it’s 2015”, it’s because a reporter asked Justin Trudeau why he chose to make sure half of his cabinet was female. And those three words, along with a nonchalant shrug and a half a smirk, were his answer.