What an equal representation cabinet could mean to young girls
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Today Canada got a new Prime Minister and a new Cabinet. This is good.
Canada has been promised better representation in this Cabinet of what Canada actually looks like. In 2015, this still means making sure there is an equal number of men and women given positions as ministers. This though, is good.
It’s also good that there is to be better ethnic representation among these ministers. The middle-aged white male wont dominate these positions. This is very good.
Our girls are five and three right now, too young to vote, or even to understand the entire electoral process, but they aren’t too young to understand the importance of women being equally represented in our country’s highest order of government.
We’ll explain to them though, that this is the first time this has happened in this country. And we’ll be happy when they both say that sounds silly.
We’ll explain that even sillier than that, we’re now only one of a handful, and not a big handful, of countries where this is the case.
We’ll explain to them that there are many out there who don’t celebrate this kind of achievement. That many people will say these women are only getting these positions because they’re women.
And we’ll explain that the people who think this way will suggest these women don’t “merit” this kind of assignment. And we’ll do our best to explain how hard it is for women to earn what these other people would call “merit” in a world where women are set up to face attitudes like “you’re only getting this because you’re a woman.”
I think we’ll try and explain that were these kinds of positions granted only on merit, we’d have had equal representation of men and women from the very first parliament.
And we’ll explain to them that yes, they are getting some of these positions because they’re women. Amazingly intelligent women who have worked very hard to earn something that’s always been handed over to men.
And we’ll remind them that they are intelligent women too.
And I’ll let them know that at no point in my 36 years on earth have I ever had to think about whether or not men would be represented at so high a level.
And that as a dad, I can’t think of anything better to see than role models for them being entrusted with this kind of responsibility in the country they’ll grow up in.
We’ll explain that this isn’t the end. That gender equality has been achieved or that these 15 women were the ones who did it. They’ll probably tell us “no duh,” and then we’ll talk to them about how long women have been working to have something as basic as representation.
We’ll explain that equality isn’t just about men and women. That diversity means making sure people of different backgrounds, races, religious beliefs or not-belief, people of different sexual identities, people of different levels of earning are represented equally.
We’ll tell them they’re next too.
And they’ll tell us “we know.”
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