On International Women's Day, advocates say 'feminist' PM has much work to do

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who proudly calls himself a feminist, is marking International Women's Day with much fanfare  – and a mountain of criticism on social media.

Trudeau has promised to promote gender equality and home and abroad, but advocates for the rights of women and girls say he still has a lot of work to do.

They are calling for more subsidized child care spaces, a national strategy to end gender-based violence and a new law to ensure men and women get equal pay for work of equal value.

The Liberal government has promised to bring in proactive pay equity legislation next year.

Trudeau will begin International Women's Day by joining International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in an announcement related to the rights of women.

He will also watch as 338 young women – one for every riding in the country – take seats in the House of Commons as part of Daughters of the Vote, a program aimed at encouraging their involvement in leadership, government and politics.

Meantime, the Prime Minister and wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau are taking some flak online over a photo released to social media of the pair holding hands to “celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others,” according to the statement attached to posts on Grégoire Trudeau’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Many thought it was not the right move.

"Why do we have to celebrate men on international women's day? I am puzzled. There are so many things that can be done to celebrate women, and yet the call goes out to celebrating men,” one commenter wrote in response to the post on Facebook.

“Ugh, really?!?!” another wrote. “Don't we already celebrate men enough?? Do we really need to make International WOMENS [sic] Day about the men in our lives??? This seems to really miss the whole point.”

Grégoire Trudeau responded to the criticism late Tuesday.

“Well, now we’re having a conversation!” she wrote. “Thanks to everyone for your feedback and pics!

–with files from the Canadian Press