I instantly fell in love with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau when I heard her speak at an International Women’s Day gala last year. Her charm was genuine as she was both passionate and humble speaking about the fearlessness and courage needed to be true to yourself in order to make a real difference in the world. When she was featured on the front of Fashion magazine, I wasn’t surprised to feel her energy through the pages and the authenticity in her words. And then came this year’s International Women’s Day and people couldn’t stop criticizing her for asking that we celebrate the men in our lives that have encouraged us to be ourselves. Let’s take a step back and pretend she’s not the PM’s wife for a moment because I have to admit, I was thinking a lot about the men in my life too this International Women’s Day too.
I now realize that I was raised in a family of feminists whether we knew it or not. I was always told I was capable of anything and praised for being smart, athletic and thoughtful, caring. My brother and I were given the same opportunities, held to the same standards and equally encouraged to pursue sports and the arts. Though both my parents played active roles in our upbringing, it’s now that I recognize how important it was that my dad held no bias when it came to the sexes. Not only did it set me up for success academically and subsequently professionally (Sallie Krawcheck calls out in her book that women whose fathers support them are more likely to be successful), but he was an example to my brother. Equality can only be achieved if girls believe they can do anything and boys believe girls can do anything too.
And though everyone may not agree with Sophie Grégoire’s Trudeau’s social media post, there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: our world will be a better place when women and men show their sons and daughters what it means to be equal through their actions, not just their words.