Justin Trudeau writes essay on why he's raising feminist sons

'Gender equality is not only an issue for women and girls'

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 12 October 2017 12:29
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Justin Trudeau on raising his sons as feminists

We talk a lot about bringing up our daughters to know they’re equal to men, but there’s less emphasis placed on raising boys as feminists.

This is something Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to change however, after a little nudge from his wife.

Everyone’s favourite head of state has written an article for MarieClaire.com on why he’s raising both his daughters and sons to be feminists.

Trudeau explains how he worries for his daughter Ella, because “in Canada and around the world, women and girls still face violence, discrimination, stereotypes that limit them, and unequal opportunities that keep them from achieving their dreams.

“It is maddening to me that my brilliant, compassionate daughter will grow up in a world where, despite everything she is as a person, there will still be people who won’t take her voice seriously, who will write her off - simply because of her gender.”

And it was a few years ago when Trudeau was talking to his wife Sophie about raising their daughter as a feminist that she turned to her husband and said: “That’s great - but how are you raising your sons to be strong advocates for women and girls, too?”

That was when the penny dropped.

“Gender equality is not only an issue for women and girls,” Trudeau writes.

He explains that he doesn’t want his sons, Xavier and Hadrien, to bow to pressure to be “a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men and to the people around them,” but rather he wants them to be comfortable being themselves and being feminists.

Trudeau with his sons Hadrien and Xavier

“Feminism is not just the belief that men and women are equal,” the Canadian leader writes.

“It’s the knowledge that when we are all equal, all of us are more free. It’s a relentless commitment to look for ourselves in each other, because that’s how we start to build a world where everyone is treated with respect and recognition.

“And it’s the unwavering conviction that all people have the same rights and freedoms - that my rights are your rights, and it is only when your rights are fully protected that mine are, too.”

The Canadian Prime Minister has spoken out about being a proud feminist and how he prioritises gender equality on on multiple occasions.

For example, he received praise from around the world when he appointed a cabinet with a 50/50 split of men and women.

In the essay, Trudeau explains that raising your children as feminists recognises that they all play a crucial role in building a world where men and women are equal.

“To raise our kids feminist is to honour their future,” he says, “Because they have the responsibility - and the power - to shape it for the better.”

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