Symbols count. They are a powerful force in the slow contest to change attitudes and expectations. When the newly elected liberal government announced they would have equal numbers of women and men in Cabinet, it reset the world of the possible for women in politics in Canada.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tells a story that illustrates this point. When her daughter remarked on the historic nature of Albright’s appointment, Albright’s granddaughter responded, “So what's the big deal about Grandma Maddy having been Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretaries of State.” Which had been true in the course of her young life. Those appointments shaped her view (and that of her peers) of the world of the possible.