Marie-José Jacobs
Marie-José Jacobs

Political Development

Party Affiliation

Profession/ Current priorities

Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments




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[ European Commission, DG V ]

© Jan 2001

European Database: Women in Decision-Making

Marie-José Jacobs

Political Development

1. What made you decide to go into politics?
In my family we always discussed what was going on in politics. I found politics very interesting even though nobody in my family had a political function.

2. Do/Did you have a role model?
No.

3. Does political involvement or policy making have a tradition in your family?
My father was member of the party CSV (Chrëschtlech-Sozial Vollekspartei) (in French PCS - Parti Chrétien Social). Since the age of 16 or 17, I went with him to party conventions. That is in fact how I became member of that party.

4. Have you been engaged in political grassroots activities before your involvement in party politics - e.g. in a citizens' rights, parents or other initiative? If so, in which function, in which institution and when did your political carrier begin?
I was member of a youth organisation on the local level. Later on I became member of the board of the umbrella youth organisation. (Dachverband der Jungendorganisationen).

5. How and why did your objectives change during your political career?
Yes, certainly. I keep on learning every day. I always belonged to the people who think you don't have to do a thing to promote equal rights between men and women. I always believed we didn't have lesser opportunities than men. The moment you realise that the situation is different, your objectives have to change otherwise nothing happens.

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Party Affiliation

1. What was your motivation to join a political party?
My interest in politics. I want to help building and changing things especially on a social level. If you work as long as I did a social job, you realise that even in a country like Luxembourg still a lot of problems exist. That was my main motivation to go into politics.

2. Which party do you belong to? Since when?
CSV since 1967.

3. Does your party have an equal opportunities regulation?
Already for a long time our party statutes said there had to be a certain number of women in all party bodies. Not really quotas as we want them today. Our party has a very strong women's organisation lobbying for women.

4. Which function/offices did you hold in your party at the beginning? How long after your joining the party was that? How did you get into running for an office?
I was member of the board of our party's youth section on local and national level as well as member of the board of the party's northern section soon after joining the party. Since two years I'm vice-president of my party.

5. Did you have mentors within your party?
Yes, without doubt Mr and Mrs Pierre Frieden. They always helped young members of the party, taking them to meetings, encouraging them to lead meetings. Another person always supported me, Ed Juncker, President of the Northern section. He always helped young politicians. I strongly believe that mentoring is very important and it really works.

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Profession/ Current priorities

1. How does your profession correspond with your political work?
It doesn't really correspond.

2. What kind of qualifications do you have?
Anaesthetic nurse.

3. What kind of jobs have you done?
I've always worked in the same job.

4. Are you linking both your professional and your political career?
Not any more. As Member of Parliament, I always linked both. I stopped working in my job the moment I became Minister in 1992. From 1984 to 1992, I was Member of Parliament and still working in a hospital. I think that was very important. It would be a pity to have only professional politicians. The risk to loose contact to "real" life is too strong.

5. In which areas do you see your special competencies?
In the social area, because of my job and of my family background. We were a very large family with 8 children at home.

6. Which are your political priorities?
First of all, youth and their problems. Then, solidarity between generations. Meanwhile we are living in a world with five different generations living next to each other. That didn't happen before. Today two generations have to work to support three others. We have to take care that young people get contact to the elder ones. I'm not talking about grandparents, but about real old people, perhaps about great-grandparents, who often live in special institutions.
And finally equal opportunities between men and women.

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Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments

1. Which objectives would you like to achieve through your political work?
Well, I want to improve, at least a bit, the situation of those people I'm there for. To help to prepare the country for the times to come. The day I stop politics, I want to say, this is what we have done and that is what we are doing and I helped a bit to improve the situation of individuals. One of my great cares is that even in a rich country like Luxembourg, we have a certain number very poor people. We don't talk about it. We don't like to talk about a lot of things. It is important to me to start talking about problems we do not like to talk about.

2. Do equal opportunity strategies - in your opinion - have an impact in your country to promote women in decision-making? (quota, EO legislation, etc... please name the strategy)
I believe they would if we had some. I was always against quotas. But today I believe we need them to improve the situation.

3. Do you see direct or indirect discrimination in "conventional" policy-making? What is it that keeps women from committing themselves to politics?
I don't see direct, but a lot of indirect discrimination: The time meetings are held, the assignments we want to fulfil... Women have to link family work, jobs and politics. They mostly do all the family work. And a lot of women believe they could not do the job as good as men. We want to assign women to new tasks, but on the other hand we do not enough to relieve them from their all day work (family and job). It is very hard to link family life and politics.

4. What obstacles have you had to overcome in your own career?
The time I started political work, it was possible for a women to work in a party, but very hard to become candidate. People believed men were better candidates. Especially in the northern part of the country.

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