It’s Not Only Justin, Canadian First Lady Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau Is Also A Feminist

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We know we have gushed over Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Canada’s “other” famous Justin) and his progressive views on everything from racial justice to feminism and gender equality, but it turns out his views do not just exist in a vacuum in the Trudeau household.

First lady Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau is not just any ordinary political wife. She will no doubt be remembered as a woman who will make, and indeed already has made, a powerful impact on her constituents alongside the likes of current US First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been a champion of healthy kids, girls having equal opportunities, and racial justice.

Sophie has been championing women’s issues her entire career and her passion is an important part of Justin Trudeau’s liberal focus. Her career has included working in Television, fashion, and advertising. She is a yoga instructor, singer/songwriter, and is heavily involved in charity work. The organizations she is involved in focus on issues such as eating disorders (she suffered from bulimia as a teen), mental health, at-risk pregnant mothers, domestic violence, and cancer.

She has been a spokeswoman for Plan Canada’s ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign, and traveled to Ethiopia with her mother-in-law as part of her work with an organization called WaterCan which is focused on alleviating poverty by providing clean water to underdeveloped countries.

Given that her husband has been so outspoken about being a feminist, you don’t exactly have to guess whether Sophie is one. In an interview with CTV News to celebrate International Women’s Day, she talked about what female empowerment means to her.

“Women’s empowerment for me means knowing your rights, having the facts, knowing the truth about what is happening out there, here in our own country and the condition of women throughout the world,” she said.

Part of her progressive outlook is understanding that although Canada is a great place for equal rights, there are still some barriers to be broken down.

“We’re privileged here in Canada, but there’s still so much work to be done on pay equity, on access to child care, on violence against women, the tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women,” she said.

One of the first things Justin Trudeau promised he would focus on when entering the office of the Prime Minister was to investigate the disappearance of the indigenous women, an issue which previous Prime Minister Steven Harper was accused of not making a priority.

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Sophie sees empowerment as something which can thrive more when people unite. Like many feminists today, including men and boys in the discussion is vital to moving the needle in a more progressive manner.

“We can’t really compare the barriers…We must come together, not only to share these facts and to continue to educate women and men, but as mothers, as parents as friends, we must be responsible for raising our kids to see and to exercise that justice between themselves,” she said, adding that education and awareness are key to bringing different societies together.

In another interview, with Canadian publication Chatelaine, it’s clear Sophie doesn’t just want to be branded as a stereotypical political wife who is know for her fashion. When asked what it is like to have attention paid to what she says and what she wears, here’s how she responds:

“You’re talking about two separate things: clothes and speech.” YAS girl!

“What I’m doing now – getting out and talking to Canadians – is a natural extensions of the work I was doing before I met my husband. I want to use the platform I’m blessed to have been given,” she continues.

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Although she is not officially involved in any policy-making, Sophie says she is proud of her husband for being vocal about his stance on women’s rights and equality, and walking the talk (by famously ensuring 50% of his new cabinet were women).

“We share the core values that underlie his vision for Canada,” she said.

While Americans look ahead to electing a new President in November and on many fronts are feeling anxious about certain candidates (Donald Trump?? Really??), Canada is ushering in a new era of politics with the Liberal Trudeau-led government, much like we experienced when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and 2012. Unlike Hillary Clinton who has battled her entire public life and political career to strike just the right tone with voters and critics (and yet annoyingly all her major impactful accomplishments keep getting overshadowed by sexist media commentary and accusations about her character), people like Sophie Trudeau are luck to have had women pave the way for a First Lady to be seen as a respectable and formidable authority on social issues, not just an arm piece for their husbands during glitzy functions.

This is what we want to see more of – women rising up in their authority and using their passion to influence the world in a positive way. We hope to see much more of Sophie making an impact on girls and women, and are glad she is unashamed to call herself a feminist.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Made a Really Problematic Post About International Women’s Day – Affinity Magazine

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