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Canada’s Prime Minister Is A Feminist And Can He Ring Enda Please?

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Not knowing a huge amount of trivia about Canadian politics isn’t a reason to feel dumb. I picked up a friend’s dry cleaning way too early this week because wedding guests are actually more insane than brides. When I told her the dress had only been cleaned once, she asked me, in panic staions mode, “Is it still wet?” At which point I shouted into the phone, “It’s called dry cleaning!” You and your brain are mostly fine.

However, after Canada’s recent election, it might be worth your while to follow proceedings in the country which isn’t the United States and is the home of delicious maple syrup. Last month, incumbent conservative prime minister Stephen Harper was ousted as the young, and dare we say it, very handsome Justin Trudeau swept the Liberal party to an unprecedented landslide victory. Pundits used words like ‘historic’ to describe Justin’s election – when your christian name is Justin we’re forgoing serious surname references – and it seems like Justin is determined to live up to the hope that buoyed his win. You see, Justin says he is a feminist and promised to appoint 15 women to his cabinet, meaning half of Canada’s ministers are women. He followed through on that pledge.


On Wednesday, a reporter asked Justin why he was so concerned with gender parity, and then Justin secured himself a place in all our hearts when he said, “Because it’s 2015.”

Wouldn’t it be AMAZING to see this kind of attitude in our parliament? At the moment, five women sit in cabinet positions in Ireland – Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, Minister for the Arts Heather Humphries, An Tánaiste Joan Burton, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and the Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC. That’s the most women who have ever done so, a figure Women for Election put at 27% of the cabinet.

To read more about Irish women and politics, check out our interview with Women for Election, the social enterprise trying to encourage more women into public life. Co-founders Michelle O’Donnell Keating and Niamh Gallagher are also recipients of one of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards, so you know they’re damn impressive.

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