Canada's newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-proclaimed feminist, has kept his promise by appointing a gender-equal cabinet. The 43-year-old named 15 women to a cabinet of 30, a feat, very few countries have managed to achieve.
Replying to a query on why he chose to make the decision of appointing a gender-equal cabinet, Trudeau simply said, "Because it's 2015," and added, "It's an incredible pleasure for me to be before you here today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada."
In the process, the new prime minister, who had to choose from among 143 men and 50 women Liberal MPs, left some long-standing male legislators out of his cabinet. "Canada has never really had a gender-parity moment before so it's a big leap for us. Canadian politicians often talk about parity while running campaigns but it's a big deal to actually do it," Jonathan Malloy, an associate professor at Ottawa's Carleton University told NBC news.
The designations Trudeau has given are not just for the sake of representation, but some of the female ministers will handle key roles. This includes Jody Wilson-Raybould, appointed as justice minister and attorney general, former journalist Chrystia Freeland, who is in charge of international trade, Jane Philpott, the new health minister and Maryam Monsef, who fled Afghanistan as a refugee 20 years ago, will oversee the democratic reform portfolio. (See the full list of the cabinet here)
The country's 23rd and second-youngest prime minister, is known for his pro-feminist views. Post his victory, he said, "Yes. I am a feminist. Proud to be a feminist. My mom raised me to be a feminist. My father raised me, he was a different generation, but he raised me to respect and defend everyone's rights, and I deeply grounded my own identity in that, and I am proud to say that I am a feminist."
Even as gender disparity exists in most countries, the low levels of female participation in political spheres, is recognised by a limited number of countries. The appointment of the gender-equal Cabinet, would mean that Canada has double the female representation as compared to that of the US.
Women make up just 25% of Washington's Cabinet of 16. In the UK, women represent one-third of the cabinet. Finland is known to enjoy the best female representation in the world, with 10 out of 16 ministers being women, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Close behind are Sweden and the Atlantic archipelago of Cape Verde, with 52.9% female representation. Canada now ranks on joint-third place, alongside France and the European principality of Liechtenstein. On the other hand, countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan who have no women representatives on their cabinets.