Emmanuel Macron did something that is being portrayed as radical: the newly inaugurated French president has staffed his cabinet of 22 with 11 women. While it is of course laudable that half of Macron's ministers are women, is it not depressing that a man's decision to hire an equal number of men and women is considered praiseworthy? Should this not be normal?
We've seen similar compliments showered on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for hiring a cabinet composed of 15 women and 15 men. When asked why he decided to hire an equal representation of women, Trudeau essentially summarized this post's question.
"Because it's 2015," Trudeau quite simply stated.
While this is not to devalue the women Macron and Trudeau selected to help lead their countries, the reaction is emblematic of a much more troubling issue. Women are not represented by their governments, and it is still sadly unusual that they would be. In the United States, only 19.5 percent of Congress is composed of women (that's 105 people out of 535 serving members). It's a stark inequality that has been abundantly clear during healthcare discussions.
Even governments widely perceived as bastions of progressive policies are proclaiming firsts in terms of hiring women: Sweden only just declared itself the first feminist government in 2017.
So, as Trudeau so unironically pointed out, it's about time governments reflect their citizens' races, genders, religious preferences, and abilities. Convincing women to run begins with empowerment of capability: if you think your friend would be a good leader, tell her. I long for the day when it's not considered newsworthy — or cause for celebration — when a man simply decides to do the right thing.