What was Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doing at the Women in the World Summit in New York City?
Trudeau was an invited guest speaker and joined in a conversation with event producer Tina Brown. They talked about feminism and also about working with President Donald Trump.
The self-proclaimed feminist also traveled to Washington in March to participate in the White House panel of women business owners hosted by President Donald Trump and first daughter Ivanka.
Trudeau told the audience at Women in the World Summit his mother inspired him to become a feminist.
“My mom right now is traveling across Canada and even [other] parts of the world to talk about de-stigmatizing mental health,” he said. “She struggled with depression, with bipolarity all her life, was misdiagnosed, was marginalized, particularly in the political years with my father. Her strength and her sense of justice and her brilliance has shown through as a mother all her life. And, finally, she's being able to share with the world with her books and with her stories, and I am just so incredibly proud to be her son."
Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau have one daughter and two sons. They are encouraging all three to be feminists, he told the audience.
“We can’t just talk about how women need to be empowered without talking to the people who, unfairly, still have more power – the men have to be part of the solution.”
He suggested that industry leaders stop appointing women to their boards because they are pressured to do so, and instead “start saying 'We really need to appoint a few more women to the board because we need better quality of decisions. We’re having trouble with our growth. We need to reach out.'”
He noted that promoting women to positions of power is not just the nice thing to do, “it’s the smartest possible thing to do.”
Trudeau also touched on providing women with investments for innovation.
“When you think about the number of great ideas that get left on the table because women entrepreneurs or innovators don’t have the kind of access to capital that is given to men on startups," he said. "This is something that will directly leave us less successful as a society if we don’t figure out how to empower and include women in every area."