Stories of #WomenForEurope

Maria Noichl

"I grew up in a political household. My father was as a member of the conservative party and active in the town’s council. Discussions around local politics at the breakfast table were a normality for me and everything was political: the development of the village or the school or even the missing roof of a bus stop. At the age of 18 I discovered the German social democrats (SPD) through the eyes of a women’s group of the SPD in my hometown. They made me discover a new way of thinking, a new kind of questioning things. These women were a group of likeminded women who wanted to change society for the better, just the way I wanted it, too. This is why I became a member of the SPD. I was city councillor for many years, represented the SPD for 5 years in the Bavarian Parliament and then became a Member of the European Parliament.

Politics can be harsh and hard, especially for women. To change this climate, we need more women and feminists in politics. The key is to nevertheless stick to it, whatever happens, until we achieve real change.

For this, I follow three principles:

  1. Be ready at any time. Processes within political parties are not always transparent and predictable. Possibilities for being a candidate only present themselves every 4-5 years. Sometimes it takes years of observation and preparation in order to be able to seize your chance. A political career is difficult to plan- which means you always need to be prepared and should never doubt your capabilities because unexpected possibilities mean great opportunities.
  1. If you fall, get up again. Setbacks are a part of life, also of political life. Women need a particularly thick skin. But the change we can bring when we keep going, is worth every setback.
  1. Learning enriches and can change everything. No one can know everything. As a woman, I often face men who seem to know everything. But people who want to change and reshape something, should always continue learning from others- because our perspective is not the only perspective that exists."

In the run-up to the launch of our campaign ’50:50 Women for Europe, Europe for Women’ on June 7, we are publishing stories of women in politics in Europe. Maria Noichl is a Member of the European Parliament. She is hosting the event in the European Parliament. You can follow her on Facebook

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