Grybauskaite: Politics will stop being a men’s club if women dare to dream

Dalia Grybauskaitė. [European Parliament/Flickr]

It is a long path to the EU leaders’ table, but if women dare to pursue their convictions in political life, politics will stop being a men’s club, said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, one of only three women leaders in the European Council.

Dalia Grybauskaitė is the President of Lithuania. 

Grybauskaitė spoke to EURACTIV’s Editor-in-Chief, Daniela Vincenti.

The number of women leaders in Europe is decreasing rather than increasing. At present, there are only three women in the European Council. What will it take to break this men’s club?

European Council members first of all are the elected leaders of their countries. So the question of women’s political participation begins at national level. Women have to dare to pursue their convictions in political life. Furthermore, every politician depends on the trust of his or her constituency and electorate. It takes hard work and responsibility to earn it.

It is a long path to the Council table, but we see an increasing number of women following it. Politics will no longer be a men’s club when many more women choose to change this perception.

The EU is facing a number of crises. Would women be better positioned to find solutions?

In time of crisis, every effort counts.

Difficulties affect everyone – men and women. That is why both sides should have equal opportunities to participate in decision making and finding a solution.

Gender equality is far from being a reality in Europe. Considering we have had legislation now for quite some time (gender equality and anti-discrimination laws) is there something we are doing wrong?

There are many instruments: directives, communications, Council conclusions, national laws, and the latest – Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019. The most important thing is to use the tools we have to make a real change. And that is the responsibility for all actors in Europe – EU institutions, governments, NGO, businesses, academia.

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Any advice to any young women who want to become a president or prime minister?What would you tell them?

To get things done, you must do them. Dare to dream, work hard and be brave.

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