As a candidate for prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau pledged that he would appoint women to serve in half of his cabinet seats. On Wednesday, shortly after he was sworn in as Canada's second-youngest prime minister ever, the self-described feminist followed through on that gender parity campaign promise. Fifteen of the 30 spots went to women.
But even better than the image of the cabinet portrait that started circling on social media Wednesday was Trudeau's response to a reporter who asked why he feels gender balance is important. "Because it's 2015," he quipped with a shrug.
Canada, like the United States, has a ways to go before it achieves full gender parity in politics, even if it is 2015. The country ranks 42nd in the world when it comes to female empowerment in politics, according to in a 2014 World Economic Forum report. (The U.S. trailed even farther behind at number 54.) But many hailed Wednesday's move as a positive first step — and powerful symbol — from the new leader.
The cabinet isn't the only thing 43-year-old Trudeau, the son of a former prime minister, has pledged to shake up after years of rule by Conservatives. The Liberal politician's agenda includes addressing climate change, raising taxes on the rich, and legalizing marijuana.