Thursday 2 April 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (73): What MEPs face before becoming MEPs

Franziska "Ska" Keller is a young German woman, member of the Green party, and number 7 of the Green Party list for the 2009 EP elections - a place that, with very high probability, will make her become MEP from July.

In her blog she is writing about the problems that an almost secure Member of the European Parliament is facing ahead of her/his entry into office - and appeals to women to apply for EP jobs (own translation):
Staffing decision. MEPs have funds for about three staff members at their disposal, two of them usually working in Brussels and one in the regional office in the boonies. These positions don't need to be advertised. I therefore can hire according to my wishes: only Green Youth; all young women; preferably with an immigration background; only people from Brandenburg [this is the region 'Ska' is coming from], or whatsoever. As always, the mixture will be important: Somebody with EP experience, somebody who knows about my topics (although it will be unclear until June/July whether I will get my preferred committee or if I have to go to the one on Fisheries (whereas this one is important and thrilling!)), speaks Turkish, is green and left-wing etc. Not very easy! In particular because you need to get along well, you should know each other for a while already, etc. How am I handling this? I think about people around me, I am asking these people for ideas, I look around to see who walk about in my field of expertise - and check my mail.

For some time already I get mails from people who can imagine working for me and who tell this to me. What is stunning: They are all men. First of all this runs against my principle that women should take over at least the majority (and the power) in my office (sorry guys) and second it makes me think about why I don't get applications from women. Apparently it is more natural for men to apply for a job at candidate number 7, a job that is nowhere advertised. Maybe women prefer to wait for me to get the idea to contact them. But this doesn't work if I don't know how great they are and that they are looking for a job! Therefore: Women, apply for a job! Not only with me, but also with other candidates! Others are doing this, too, an a little push à la "Hey, I am also here!" wouldn't be amiss. Hence, do it, it is not presumptuous but necessary.
Very interesting insights, and very open words.

And although I am not a fan of quotas, I appreciate any move to improve gender balance and participation of women in the political sphere, not only in Brussels but all over the place.

I'd therefore like to hear similar appeals from man, too!!

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

For an overview over all articles in this category have a look at the overview article.

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