Freshly minted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had strong words for detractors of feminism at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week. In a session on gender equality — which also featured major business leaders including Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer — Trudeau laid it out. “We shouldn’t be afraid of the word ‘feminist.’ Men and women should use it to describe themselves anytime they want.” Trudeau also emphasized the importance of educating young boys about the importance of gender equality, speaking of his own sons as an example. “That role we have, as men, in supporting and demanding equality, and demanding a shift, is really, really important,” Trudeau added.
This is clearly important for the 44-year-old leader of Canada’s Liberal party, who unprecedentedly appointed a cabinet with equal numbers of women and men when he took office last year. When asked why he made gender parity in his cabinet a priority, Trudeau famously said, “Because it’s 2015.” Mic drop. His comments in Davos were met with widespread applause from attendees of the special session and, over the weekend, to widespread appreciation from not just his Canadian constituents, but supporters of gender equality everywhere. It's a tremendously positive message from a world leader to use a term so often misrepresented or simply misconstrued. The truth of the matter is, any person who believes that women, men, and people who do not identify with either side of the gender binary should be treated equally is, by definition, a feminist. It's about time the world gets this right. Because, as Trudeau might put it, it's 2016.