Renée Wagener
Renée Wagener

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

Renée Wagener

Political Development

1. What made you decide to go into politics?
Good question. I didn't really go into politics, I sort of slipped into it. It was a period of time where a lot was happening: peace movement, anti-nuclear energy movement, ("heisser Herbst in Deutschland"), foundation of the Green Party in Germany.

2. 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 active in ASTM, a third world organisation. Very active, but no special function. It was an important experience for me, it helped me to begin thinking about the world around me. During my school time, I did not know what was happening in politics. I didn't know the different parties, ministers, etc. I started to take an interest in politics at that time when things moved a lot. I was at the founding convention of the Green Party here in Luxembourg. Many people of different organisations were there. I found the fact interesting that many women were there. Environmental problems concerned me. It was a sort of automatism. I didn't think much about it.

3. How and why did your objectives change during your political career?
Objectives didn't really change, they became clearer to me. I was always sure I didn't want to do politics a lifetime. It's something I wanted to try, I find it thrilling for a certain time. It is only one element in my life and I want to do other things. That fact has never changed. It is more concrete that I will quit politics one day.

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Party Affiliation

1. Which party do you belong to? Since when?
Déi Gréng - Green Party since 1983.

2. Does your party have an equal opportunities regulation?
Yes we do. Party bodies have to have the same number of men and women. Candidates lists for election should - if possible - have the same number of men and women. And our party has a council of women.

3. 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?
Co-ordination council. Spokeswoman of the party. Member of the Women's Council. Two years after my joining the party. There were many conflicts in the party and the risk that the party would split was high. I was at the convention when the women's co-ordination council was founded. People asked me if I wanted to join the council and I said why not.

4. Did you have mentors within your party?
Unfortunately not.

5. Did you ever change party affiliation?
No.

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Profession/ Current priorities

1. How does your profession correspond with your political work?
At the beginning not really. Afterwards my work at the "Grénge Spoun" (weekly newspaper), project of the Green Party, did correspond with my political work. I was the first person who worked for the newspaper. At that time links were strong between the newspaper and the party.

2. What kind of qualifications do you have?
Magistra artium in social sciences.

3. What kind of jobs have you done?
Librarian. Educator. Journalist.

4. Are you linking both your professional and your political career?
Yes, because I do not have a family.

5. In which areas do you see your special competencies?
I am a better administrator than a great speaker.

6. Which are your political priorities?
Women's rights, refugees, etc...

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Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments

1. Which objectives would you like to achieve through your political work?
I want to reach people especially on themes where information is poor, like drugs, homosexuality, or other themes. I want to inform people, open their eyes on themes they do not really know. I do not believe I can change a lot through my political work. But I hope I can make people be aware of problems they didn't realise before.

2. How and why did your objectives change during your political career?
My objectives didn't really change. As small opposition party you feel that your possibilities are limited. But, over the years, you start being content with less.

3. 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)
Perhaps in certain organisations. Regulations in the Green Party certainly helped to change things a bit. There are no legal regulations here in Luxembourg.

4. Did you benefit from these strategies? How do you judge these strategies?
Yes, on party level. At the beginning, I became candidate during elections because I'm a woman.

5. Do you see direct or indirect discrimination in "conventional" policy-making? What is it that keeps women from committing themselves to politics?
Yes. In Parliament, I see how other parties treat their women. Women are often shy and no one encourages them to go on. In other parties, I've noticed that speeches are held by men and that women play a secondary part.
I believe that many are not interested in politics. Perhaps because of a lack of information, perhaps because of a certain education. And women have to overcome many barriers. Women are traditionally not wanted in politics. They have to overcome that barrier over and over again. You get attacked very often in politics, because people do not like what you are doing. And I believe women have problems coping with that, especially at the beginning.

6. What are the major obstacles that women need to overcome in their endeavour to participate in political decision-making?
Their shyness, their lack of self-confidence. To deal with conflicts and to not take them personally. Women have often problems dealing with the press. It is difficult for women to create contacts with journalists, this seems easier for men.

7. Which are the obstacles you had to fight in your own political career?
I found it very difficult to create contacts with the press. It took me a long time. I didn't always have the support in my party for my work, especially during the times I was younger and without much experience. As woman you do not always get the feedback you need to continue.

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