Everyone knows the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trideau, happen to have three. Whereas most would agree that a working parent should ask for help when they feel overwhelmed or are in over their head, some Canadians are getting a little nasty with the internet memes of Sophie Gregoire-Trideau’s request for more administrative help to perform her duties as the Prime Minister’s wife.
Very few things make me more annoyed than when someone goes after a politician’s unelected spouse.
Although the spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada has no official role, she is unofficially expected to be a stay-at-home mom (read: travelling politician’s wife and mother), to work on projects with her husband’s office, and to serve as spokeswoman for numerous charities.
Ms. Gregoire-Trideau’s request for administrative staff is reasonable.
But I am a silver-lining sort of girl so let’s take this opportunity to talk about a very important issue: women’s unpaid work and the extent it is valued by society.
Women still perform a majority of the unpaid work in the home and that isn’t valued.
How does this apply to the role of the Prime Minister’s spouse? In Canada, the Prime Minister’s spouse does not have an official role, or an official title.
But for the sake of women’s unpaid work, something here has to change.
Officially or not, or like it or not, Ms. Trudeau DOES represent Canada on the national stage.