On the International Women’s Day, Vice-President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Renew Europe CoR), Jasna Gabrič and Young Elected Politician (YEP) and City Councillor from Steinsel in Luxembourg, Jana Degrott joined an online event entitled ‘For more women in politics’, organised by the European Committee of the Regions.
In her intervention Degrott discussed online hate speech, talking about her experiences, being a young woman of colour running for office:
“I know how it feels when people threaten you, when they tell you that you deserve to be beaten up when you dare to say no, when people tell you to go back from where you came from instead of running for office. I first normalised it, but I learned the hard way, as it affected my mental health, that something needed to be done.”
“No matter who we are or our mandate, we need to encourage other women to run for office. Online hate speech is meant to silence us. The political sphere looks full of men, so let’s normalise having women in top positions – we deserve a seat at the table & it will reduce violence towards us,” Degrott said.
Elected female politicians can also serve as role models to inspire other women to be active in politics. Role models affect psychological engagement and the motivation of women to run for elections. To illustrate this, Renew Europe CoR Vice-President Jasna Gabrič, Mayor of Trbovlje (Slovenia), spoke about how to motivate other female politicians to engage in local politics:
“Don’t give up! When I started, people said I was too young, that it wasn’t the time for a woman. I had no party behind me and had to self-finance my campaign. As the only woman I ran against 5 men who had parties behind them. And yet I won and became the first female Mayor of my city.”
“Being a woman in politics means double the work: you must prove yourself and strive for the same result as male colleagues achieve. With perseverance and hard work we can achieve even greater success than others. In doing so we break down stereotypes and make society more tolerant,” she added.
You can re-watch the event here or below
To learn more about women in politics, have a look at The Alliance Of Her, a new platform that aims to create change by empowering women in Europe to pursue their political ambitions, championing their efforts every step of the way, mobilising to dismantle the gendered barriers that stand in their path and fighting every day for a future shaped by their voices.