In this contribution from Portugal, country coordinator Luiz Menezes describes an important debate on the role of women in politics. The contributions focuses on the opinions of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who explains why, in the current European scenario, it is most important that ordinary people engage in politics and as individual members of Alde
On the 6th of November I had the privilege to host the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at the Portuguese ALDE IMs’ debate on “Women in Power – the new role of women in politics”.
It was a really inspirational exchange, with simple but deeply felt learnings, and meaningful sharing. Vestager particularly shared the ‘decisional model’ that she uses whenever she is confronted with life challenges: since this constituted a particularly insightful moment of our exchange, I summarise it below.
“SO WHY NOT?” Vestager asked. Often in life we are paralyzed by fear, worries and anxiety. We fear that we are not good enough; that we don’t have anything to offer; or even that no one will listen to us. Sometimes our anxiety anticipates obstacles well down the road: what if I have to speak in public? What if they’ll think I am a bluff?
If one thinks of it, indeed politicians must be either really courageous or really stupid to overcome these feelings. Looking around Europe and across the pond we all know what kind of politicians are abundant.
Remember Plato’s words “One of the consequences of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
SO…WHY NOT? You are brighter than most of our current politicians, you have something to say, you want to change the world or at least your town
Politics is made by and for people: everyday people. Not only the kind of grey, anonymous bureaucrats.
Politics is made by and for people who care about other people: for people who have reasons to be angry, sad, and also happy and excited. Politicians are people who reach out, who try to build bridges of dialogue, and who try to let emerge and enhance the positive side of each of us. These are the kind of people who will bring emotions, trust and values back to politics; those that armies of bots and fake news cannot bring down.
SO… WHY NOT BECOMING ONE OF THEM? If you think the world is more than 0’s and 1’s, more than black and white, more than us versus them, then you should pose yourself this question.
You don’t have to think about the finish line, nor worrying about the obstacles: they will become part of your path, and you’ll deal with them along the way. Just focus on the now. Dream big, make plans, and act now. Think of the first step: You can do it. Become an activist, join an association or group, put your name out there.
And if we could count on you as ALDE IM, or as member of ALDE through any of the national parties, even better. Just act. I know it’s scary: but everything is. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail: but at least you could say you tried, and next time you’ll do better.
Luis Filipe Menezes