16:40 . “When I mentioned in plenary session that I got sexually harassed myself, I really wanted to show people that I am a human. I have lived this experience and it has affected me just as if it would affect any woman. I relate to any woman out there and I want women to be able to relate back.”
Terry is a German Member of the European Parliament. She is also one of the MEPs that publicly stood with the #metoo movement, denouncing sexual harassment in the working environment.
“ – I started being an activist when I was a teenager. From a very young age, I wanted to change the world. Eventually, my friends started telling me – “Terry, if you really want your voice to be heard, why don’t you just run for the European Parliament?”
So I did.
– Actually, the European Parliament is much more open to citizens than some national parliaments. I even feel that here; we are able to have some controversial debates on a variety of topics, exactly because of the sizes and broad diversity of European political groups. The downside is when you see a big debate halted. In here, different realities are speaking up to each other – and often clashing. For example, I was sad when the idea of transnational lists got voted down.*
– At the same time, every vote that we lose is for me still a positive opportunity, in the sense that it can stimulate debate from a different perspective or angle. The debate is never over.
We can take great strength from loss. “
(About her involvement in sexual harassment issues)
People should understand that a lot of legislation we pass is for all of us, them and ourselves. We are humans affected by these laws; I am doing politics for myself as well.
And yes, I do feel the use of what I do as an MEP – there is something very empowering about speaking up at the political level, speaking up for people who cant.
Of course, grassroots work is as important, that is why I got involved with the Period. initiative*. Both levels are important – for me it is all about working together – changing the world together.”
* The proposal of transnational lists mentioned keeping 46 of the 79 seats vacated by the UK after 2019 for a pan-European list. The additional seats would have been redistributed to under-represented member states in the Parliament.
*Period. is a feminist network and grassroots movement founded in 2015, that offers monthly workshops, get-togethers, and feminist festivals.