Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows it’s just as important to raise feminist girls as it is to raise feminist boys.
In an essay for Marie Claire, the politician opened up about his family and how he and his wife, philanthropist Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, are teaching their kids about feminism. Justin credited Sophie for helping him realize that teaching their daughter, Ella-Grace, about the impact of her own voice was a fine start, but gender equality can only be achieved by teaching it to their sons, Xavier and Hadrien, as well.
“I was talking about teaching Ella that she can be anything she wants to be,” Justin wrote. “Sophie said, ‘That’s great, but how are you raising your sons to be strong advocates for women and girls, too?’”
Justin wrote that it’s “maddening” that his “brilliant, compassionate daughter” will face obstacles simply because she is a girl. He also noted that although society has come so far in gender equality, it still has a long way to go.
“It’s 2017, yet 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,” he wrote.
This motivates Justin and Sophie to teach Ella that she has a “strong voice” and “intrinsic worth,” while simultaneously teaching their sons to be allies and “walk through the world with openness, love, and a fierce attachment to justice.”
Justin made it clear that a world where gender equality exists doesn’t only benefit women. In that world, while women fulfill their potential, men can be comfortable rejecting traditional norms of masculinity.
“I want my sons to escape the pressure to be a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men and to the people around them,” he wrote. “I want them to be comfortable being themselves, and being feminists who stand up for what’s right, and who can look themselves in the eye with pride.”
As Justin put it, “Feminism is not just the belief that men and women are equal. It’s the knowledge that when we are all equal, all of us are more free.”