Our Vice-President Jasna Gabrič shared her own inspirational story about being a woman and empowering women in politics at the local level during the European Committee of the Regions conference “Europe For Her”.

 

Gabrič was re-elected as Mayor of Trbovjle, Slovenia with 67% of the vote, beating six other candidates during the October 2018 municipal elections. She is currently also shortlisted for the 2018 World Mayor Prize which our President Bart Somers won in 2016. Her successful story can truly inspire women across Europe.

When I started, people said I was too young, that it wasn’t the time for a woman. I also had no party behind me and I self-financed my campaign. The campaign against me was ugly, with personal attacks. Yet I won and became the first female Mayor of my city.

Gabrič urges women across Europe to run for office, even though admitting that for young women it can be hard.

You have to fight for your place and show you’re as good as they [men] are, that you do know as much as they do.

She believes gender quotas can be a helpful instrument for empowering women; to increase the participation of women in politics in countries or societies where there are few women in leadership positions:

Gender quotas are a push: someone pushing you into politics as if into a pool and telling you to swim. You either stay and swim more, or you get out.

Gabrič hailed the European Committee of the Regions as a platform to talk about the issue of empowerment of female politicians, thereby raising awareness for gender-related issues such as gender-neutral budgeting which our group promotes, while also noting the developments to strive for an equal gender balanced representation within the country delegations. To set the right example, the ALDE group’s presidency, of which Jasna Gabrič, is the third Vice-President, is gender equal, with two men and two women, and ALDE continues to push for new ways of improving the gender balance within the CoR’s membership and within the positions of responsibility of the CoR.