New Spotlight on Gender Equality?

By: Virginia Villa

Hillary Clinton stated in an interview on Monday if she were elected half of her cabinet members would be women. This promise is the same one that Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made while he was running, and has actually followed through on. When Prime Minister Trudeau was asked why he wanted a split-gender Cabinet, he simply answered, “Because it’s 2015.” The response highlights a growing desire for gender equality in the western world that Hillary Clinton is not shying away from.

Trudeau’s response was met with widely positive feedback, though it is difficult to say whether or not Hillary Clinton will receive the same appreciation. There are a few key differences between Trudeau and Clinton that might influence the way people respond to Clinton’s statements and the way her intent to implement a split-gender Cabinet actually plays out. The most obvious difference between Trudeau and Clinton is that Trudeau is a man and Clinton is a woman. Unfortunately, society is still positioned to applaud men for being feminists while punishing or merely ignoring women who advocate for gender equality. As Prime Minister Trudeau pointed out, we are living in a modern society where gender equality should be considered the norm. More likely than not, Clinton will receive positive support for making half her Cabinet women, but there is still a likelihood that she will receive lash back, and probably more lash back than Trudeau received, for bringing gender into the political conversation.

Another key difference is that Prime Minister Trudeau is serving Canadians while Hillary Clinton would be serving Americans. Canada is notably more progressive than the United States in terms of gender equality, so it is not surprising that Trudeau’s decision was met with such popular support. Being a woman herself, Clinton’s decision should come as no surprise, but we unfortunately live in a country where many people still consider women to be the lesser in society. Hopefully, having a woman as President of the United States and having a Cabinet that more fully represents the population will push talks for gender equality, equal pay, and women’s rights to the forefront of the issues the American government will deal with in the next administration.