Equal rights and innovation: how this Gen Y politician is setting her sights on the European Parliament

Angel-014(small)Angèl Nijskens is a personal publicist for public figures, leaders and professionals. Creative entrepreneur living in the Netherlands. Passionate about publicity, storytelling  and (social) media. Love typically Gen Y stuff such as collecting new experiences and sharing them on my smart phone of course 😉

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Meet Irene Janssen: the Gen Y woman setting her sights on the European Parliament

Dear European brothers and sisters. It’s so nice to meet you here again, online. I’m pleased to use this wonderful platform to share some thoughts with you. This week, I would like to introduce another ambitious woman to you. Why? Because she’s passionate about European politics and supporting (young) women to help create a better world. Meet Irene Janssen, I asked her five questions which I’m sure you’d like to know the answer to. Do you have your own question for Irene? Please ask her and join the conversation via Twitter using #AskGenWHY.

Irene Janssen

Irene Janssen

Why did you decide to become a candidate for the European elections?

I want to contribute to shaping a Europe that is good for our welfare and our wellbeing. Being able to do so as a Member of the European Parliament would be a dream come true for me. Already in high school, I participated in a simulation game: the Model European Parliament. At the time I choose the topic of women’s rights and I have continued to work on equal rights through my work as well as my voluntary work and blogs.

Which are your key points when it comes to Generation Y in Europe?

Women still earn much less than men. It is harder for them to reach the top and women are at a much higher risk of poverty. I take a strong stand for a society in which everyone can use his or her talents, in which we share work and care equally, and a society that offers more space to woman and female talent. Such a society is one that also offers more space to the wellbeing of people: not the market, but people can make a difference.

I choose the topic of women, as I think that women have a role to play in creating a better world and I think that a society that is more inclusive is something that everybody will benefit from. It will be a better place for people to live and work, to play and to share regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or class. Young people should be able to contribute to that by using their talent as well.

How will you accomplish your goals for Europe if you are elected?

As a Member of the European Parliament I will continue to work towards a fair society in which welfare and wellbeing are equally important; a society that offers the possibility for everyone to use his or her talent and a society in which we share, work, and care equally. Because a society that pays attention to the wellbeing of people is a society that benefits everyone. My political spearheads are:

–          equal opportunities for men and women

–          more sustainable growth through innovation

–          living, working and doing business at the border regions: how to tackle practical problems when visiting a doctor cross-border or doing business at the border region.

I will make sure that the right legislation is in place by fighting for better parental leave for mothers and fathers and by making sure funding is available for research and innovation. But I will also be a connector or a point of reference for my constituency: I always want to make sure people can call me if they come across problems, particularly related to one of the above issues.

At the moment, unemployment rates are high in Europe. What can we do to prevent the current young generation from becoming a ‘lost generation’? Want what can young people do about that themselves?

Our society is changing rapidly. Think about how technology has become so present in our lives. Information is readily available and technology can improve our lives. We are going through a time of transition, maybe comparable to the time of industrialization, and this transformation takes time. Jobs will disappear but others are emerging.

I do not have a quick-fix solution to the problem of youth unemployment. I think politicians should have the guts to say so more often. This problem is something we all struggle with close to home and as politicians. I do know that within a globalizing world and a world market, we need the European Union for our internal market and our economic power, but we also need to think about how to treasure the talents of our youth in this continent. For those who are currently struggling to find a job I would like to say to them: hang on, it will get better and there is more in life than a job! In the mean time make sure you make your contribution to the place you are living in by doing voluntary work for example. Or create your own business with a service or product that responds to what we need now or in the future. Whatever you do, make sure you use your talents because the world needs this young generation with a fresh view and new ideas!

Do you have tips for people who want to be active in European politics?

I think we need politicians who put people, not power and money, at the centre. I will do so and I am waiting to be joined by more young politicians. Therefore if you want a different society, a different leadership for your country and the EU, start voting and become politically active. The world needs you!

About Irene

Irene grew up in the South of the Netherlands, close to the German border, in the Province of Limburg. She studied European Law at Maastricht University and currently lives in Brussels. From Limburg, Brussels is closer than the national capital The Hague! According to Irene, we need to get politics back at the kitchen table. What do we want for our surroundings, our society? And how do we deal with tough issues? Irene is available for any of your questions or worries about our society in Limburg, the Netherlands and Europe. Just contact her: mail@irenejanssen.nl or +31(0)621598315.



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