MANILA- Empowering women is a key driver of a successful economy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a local panel discussion Monday.
A known champion of gender equality, Trudeau said he is working on a feminist approach to foreign policy not only because it is the right thing to do, but a smart move as well.
"We all know that empowering women to be successful is not just a single driver of economic success, it leads to compound effects as the community does better, as the village does better, as the entire economy of the country does better, the more the women of the country have pathways to success," he told a roomful of participants in a forum of the Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project.
"...When there's a lack of economic development, one of the best things to do is to empower women to give them opportunities to contribute to growth," he added.
The Canadian leader, who is in Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings, also corrected notions surrounding the term "feminist."
"Now the word feminist still scares a few people but it still means recognizing that men and women are equal and should be equal," he said.
Towards the end of the discussion, the Canadian leader gamely posed for photos and gave out hugs and kisses to participants who milled around him.