Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Gender Equity in Cabinet Is Long Overdue

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Gender Equity in Cabinet Is Long Overdue

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Gender equity in cabinet is long overdue

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An editorial from the Hamilton Spectator, published Nov. 5:

Justin Trudeau promised a smaller cabinet based on gender equality, ethnic diversity and regional representation, so it is no surprise that is exactly what he delivered. All the same, it was inspiring to see his 15-man, 15-woman cabinet sworn in Wednesday in all its diverse glory. Perhaps most notably, for the first time in Canada, there is an even gender split in cabinet.

Trudeau had a wealth of talent to choose from, so achieving that long-overdue goal was not a stretch. While pure competence is never the only factor when putting together a cabinet -- or a board or a company, for that matter (and is subjective, at any rate) -- one cannot credibly argue he sacrificed competence in favour of gender equality.

So let's be clear: this is not about choosing a less competent woman over a more competent man because of her gender. It is about choosing an equally competent woman because it makes sense for the country -- because having a cabinet divided equally along gender lines makes a more representative and more qualified cabinet. Women make up half the population. They often care about different issues and bring different perspectives. Their voices need to be heard equally.

The notion they do not deserve to be there in equal measure is, quite frankly, offensive. And it sounds defensive coming from men who may feel they were overlooked for what they assumed, based on history, was their rightful seat at the table.

If lack of experience is an issue, perhaps this is because women have not been given opportunities due to an inherent bias toward men. Women need to be given opportunities so they can prove they have the ability to make a positive and necessary difference.

If you think politics is not traditionally a man's game, consider the recent news that Calgary MLA Stephanie McLean will become Alberta's first sitting MLA to give birth. …

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