The one who seized the momentum

5.Arantxa

12:43 . It happens just like this (she snaps her fingers) – someday, somebody says: ‘this is unacceptable and this needs to stop’ and the momentum is created. This momentum on gender issues is big and it will only get bigger. We need to make sure it does.

Aranxa works for a Spanish member of the European Parliament. On the photo she is being interviewed after she helped organise a demonstration against sexual harassment in the workplace, alongside the three other women on the photo (left to right: Jeanne, Pia, Ainaira)

– Since there was a momentum all over the world in the light of the #metoo movement, we felt it important to mobilize people in Brussels. So I contacted Jeanne, who has been speaking already on this issue at the European Parliament. We wanted to highlight the issue in our workplace, not because we wanted to harm the EU, we are all europhiles and we love working here. But because many things that have been happening here are unacceptable. And this is not only characteristic of politics, gender issues are present everywhere, sexual harassment can happen anywhere – and the Weinstein scandal* clearly demonstrates it. For sure, things take time, change does not happen overnight. But what pleases me is that I already feel the atmosphere is different. Do you think people in this house who before, were not afraid to behave a certain way – are now as comfortable misbehaving? No, now they feel women are standing up for themselves. I am not going to stop because now the social atmosphere is going our way, the momentum is in our favour. Women are still afraid, but we do not want them to be. Of course, men still have the power and it can be scary, but now people actually care about it. This was a call for action and the follow up is to continue pushing – for this change to happen. Women are a force for change now. This is the momentum.

*The Weinstein scandal refers to dozens of women who have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. These allegations have sparked women coming forward with similar issues all over the world.

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