Gender parity in cabinet still sets Team Trudeau apart

Gender parity in cabinet still sets Team Trudeau apart

By Shachi Kurl, Executive Director

As we saw this week, there’s a specific algorithm applied to create the prime minister’s cabinets, one that maintains the same number of women as men and that also ensures a one-for-one ratio of regional ministers. While the code appeared to be a little glitchy given the demotion of Jody Wilson-Raybould – the only First Nations member of the cabinet – there is little doubt Justin Trudeau took much care in how this pre-election collection of ministers was constructed.

A little over three years ago, reaction to the much-ballyhooed reveal of a cabinet made up of equal parts men and women was mixed. For some, it was (and remains) an important and overdue breakthrough vouchsafing the equal place of women in political life. Who can forget Trudeau’s carefully rehearsed “because it’s 2015” response to the question of why he did it? For others, though, it was a cheesy gimmick, a stunt, one that put quotas ahead of the best and most able performers caucus had to offer.

Still, given that some of government’s top performers, such as Chrystia Freeland and Jane Philpott, are women, there are those who would say Trudeau’s experiment was an unmitigated success. On the other hand, some would point to the underperformance of women such as Maryam Monsef and Catherine McKenna as a sign of failure. At the end of the day, one might argue gender has little to do with any of it.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site, where it was initially published.


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