Here's Why Canada PM Made Half His Cabinet Women

Everyone say it with Justin Trudeau: 'Because it’s 2015'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2015 2:02 PM CST

In 1969, Judy LaMarsh, only the second woman to ever serve in Canada's Cabinet, brought up her status as a political anomaly. "Visitors in the Commons' gallery … made no effort to disguise the fact that they regarded me as a curiosity and stared whenever I could be seen," she said, per the CBC. LaMarsh would likely be pleased at the ministerial makeup in 2015: For the first time in Canadian history, the Cabinet now has an equal number of men and women, thanks to new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Guardian reports. The 15 women and 15 men (16, if you count Trudeau himself) are also mostly under the age of 50 and ethnically diverse, including Jody Wilson Raybould, the first-ever aboriginal attorney general. "It's important to be here before you today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada," Trudeau said at a Wednesday press conference.

Also notable among the newcomers are Chrystia Freeland, an ex-journalist who will helm the country's international trade, and 30-year-old Maryam Monsef, the new minister in charge of democratic reform who fled Afghanistan as a child and now holds the title of youngest Canadian minister ever, per the Huffington Post Canada. A reporter at the presser pushed Trudeau on why he included even more women than his predecessor, Stephen Harper (the CBC notes women in Harper's administration held about one-third of the Cabinet posts). "I understand one of the priorities for you was to have a Cabinet that was gender-balanced," the reporter asked. "Why was that so important to you?" Trudeau paused for just a second, then delivered the line that the Toronto Star says is now receiving "world praise": "Because it's 2015." (Richard Nixon may have seen this all coming.)

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