By Claire Zillman
July 6, 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Dublin on Tuesday as one of the first world leaders to meet with Ireland’s new Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who was elected last month.

One item on the agenda was gender equality.

According to the Irish Examiner, Varadkar said he was “very impressed” by Trudeau’s record on gender equality in his government, and sought input from the Canadian PM on the issue. “I am always of the view that diversity leads to better decision-making,” Varadkar said. His Canadian counterpart famously appointed a gender-balanced cabinet when he took office in 2015 and he’s maintained that parity in subsequent reshuffles. In explaining why he selected an equal number of men and women as ministers after being elected, Trudeau said flatly: “Because it’s 2015.”

Varadkar’s own background gives him a unique perspective on diversity and inclusivity. Not only is he Ireland’s youngest-ever prime minister, he’s also its first openly-gay leader and its first premier of Indian descent.

“Diversity is about more than gender,” he said, “but diversity in general leads to better decision-making and we should try to have a government and parliament that looks like the country that it represents. I did seek some advice from Justin on this because I am very impressed by the fact that he has a cabinet that is gender-balanced.”

Varadkar could certainly use Trudeau’s help on this front. When the Irish PM picked his cabinet in June, he selected three women among his 19 ministers of state, and just six of his 34 ministers in government are female.



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