At the evening of 21 April 2016, Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Trade and Silvana Koch-Mehrin, the Founder and Chairperson of WIP, met at the premises of the Canadian Embassy in Brussels to discuss the societal importance of having more women in the parliaments. This was in the company of many prospective young candidates, mainly young well-educated internationally active women.
In this context, Silvana Koch-Mehrin pointed out: “One part of the story is the number of women in parliaments. The other part of the story is the real influence of women in parliament, and this is what really matters. It is proven that women politicians bring different and important perspectives to the political table. It is therefore imperative that women get influential positions. Unfortunately, so far we usually witness that women politicians are assigned to the usual stereotypical roles, and you all know what these roles are, as they typically deal with women, children and animal rights.”
When asked about a recipe for a success, Chrystia Freeland said: “My prime minister can be the role model. He made the effort and went out to recruit more women into politics. This is how I got recruited by him. To his credit, it is important to stress that not enough women in parliaments lead to the stagnation of the middle class, and distrust in establishments; and that would be rather a recipe for a failure”.
Many of the young international women participating at the event had several questions and points of view to share. The event ended with a big applause for both of the discussants, Chrystia Freeland and Silvana Koch-Mehrin, as an encouragement for their continuing good work.