Aiming high!


Being determined can take you long. One woman who does not see the obstacles, but the possibilities is the one you meet this week. It actually took her all the way to the parliament, and with her attitude toward the assignment, it is no doubt she is the right person for the post. Her story is fascinating to read, and although we may not aim as high ourselves, it can sure inspire us. Enjoy!

Name: Mona Juul

Age: 52

Occupation: MP (Member of Parliament)

Family: Lives with Carsten and the dog Victor

Lives in: Horsens, Denmark

It is often said that it is more difficult for women to get leading positions, but you have had several before joining the Conservative People's Party. Would you say that Denmark is a more equal country than many others, or do you have a special ability to reach what you want?

It is no doubt that there are relatively big similarities between the gender in Denmark. Still, we have a long way until we reach equality, and if we don't speed up, I doubt that it would happen in my own lifetime that we will have as many women as men in top positions. If we will be able to, there need to be other methods and a much bigger focus. But it's not really what we are used to doing in this field, and we don't like to create too many rules, like for example gender quota.

I don't have any special capabilities and to be honest I have not been that engaged in gender equality. I'm more of an activist in the daily life where I think about these things in different contexts. If I notice that women are being neglected, I tell about it, and I like to help other women.

When the chance comes, I'll grab it. I have always rather taken the power than to give it to others. I'm definately most content when I'm in the driver's seat. Actually I can't see myself in the back seat.

Maybe I have thought about that I a couple of times have been given a certain position because it would look good to have a woman there. But I honestly don't care. If I had not been doing well, I would not even have been considered to be there. And by the way, how many men haven't been elected to boards and such only because they are men? So why should we feel guilty?

Then I want to be clear that I always want to do a good job. I am always ambitious in what I'm doing. Can't really tell why, I'm just diligent, curious, hardy and also positive. Then I love to have fun. I believe that we all have exactly the posibilities and capabilities for creating a good life. After all, that's what it's all about. For me, a good life is very much about to do things that makes life worth living. I think that's what drives me the most, even if I have to ignore some of the demands that many women normally put on themselves.

In my opinion that is what cramps women the most. Am I good enough? Beautiful enough? Smart enough? You know what? You are probably not. But details like that have not occupied my mind. Even if I know I'm not the best, the most beautiful or smartest that's the way things are. Besides, who really decides what it all is and when one is good enough? And what more, there's always someone better, but why worry, they shall also have their place!

I think it's important that women have others to compare themselves with than them being perfect. Perfect is also so awfully boring.

You have not always been a politician, but since a while you have a seat in the Danish parliament. Why did you choose this - sometimes rather difficult - path, and is it like you imagined it would be?

I have always been interested in politics but not been a member and active that way. It was only my family and close friends who knew my political opinions, and it was definitely not something I had dreamt about, to run as a politician.

Then I met with my local party's election committee; they needed a candidate to the parliament. They asked if I could help them with names of candidates. One day I asked one of the responsible how it went, and when he said not that good, I said for fun that it was sad it wasn't next election again as I otherwise could have run myself. When saying so, I learned that it could be now as well.

I was a bit tired of seeing all politicians who came directly from school and not understand where the money comes from. Myself I have many ideas about how to keep the cake while eating it and not make the costs bigger and bigger. It requires a totally differeny focus - namely "business politics". That is how I look at it, and I would love to be part of securing more development and growth instead of "only" devide the tax money from the common account.

Unfortunately, many people are not elected the first time they are drafted - and not at all with business policy as a brand. It's not exactly a newsstand.

I work intuitively with green solutions, and do like to find other ways than just put money into all or nothing. It's about using the creative, digitale and circulare possibilities. But except for the green focus, there are too little power in my other key issues. In reality the parliament election is very much about common sense, hospitals, people being wornout and so on, which was not on my agenda.

Against all odds, I was still elected. I would never have guessed, and now I give it all my time. It is very exciting and I believe that I can contribute to make a difference. As I mentioned, it's important that things have a meaning, and politics gives me a lot of that.

But it meant that I had to say good bye to my beloved job as a CEO (chief executive officer) and many exciting posts in boards like The Dansk Chamber or Commerce and WWF, World Wide Fund. It also means that I'm away from home most of the week. Still it doesn't mean I work less than before. I'm lucky to have a lot of energy. I'm fine with that.

It may be important to many to find a balance between work and other life, but I have to do what suits me. To try to make a difference for Denmark is something I'm very eager to do.

I have seen politics from close distance during the years, so it was no big surprise for me how it was. Also I have been welcomed by the party, voters and other politicians and got a good support. The positive is absolutely a bigger part than the negative.

One thing you find important in politics is common sense. Would you say it is too little of that?

The political system is complex, and it is a lot of bureacracy and processes. When there are many self-centered elected, including myself, who wants to have a seat even next term of mandate, there may be a bit of lack regarding commom sense.

The absolute best way to make a difference is that politicians in general should be so focused on their own party's politics. It's too important to be a game with tactic and strategy to just be elected again.

Hopefully, my own and other politicians experiences can contribute more to what really is important, and that is regardless of which party is in power. We have to work together for the best solutions. So one thing I do try to do is to work together with others. It doesn't mean we have the same opinions, and politics is of course about differences. It's all right with different ways and different dreams for our country.

Furthermore I hope to add values like integrity and generousity. Those are things that mean a lot to me and I try to live by. Integrity means to me that one does as one says and also treats others the way one wants to be treated. Generosity - and kindness - to me means to be open and for example share my knowledge and experience. Even though a minister and myself may be from different planets, I don't keep my ideas from them, but try to influence instead. The worst thing that could happen is that he or she takes my ideas. This may mean that I'm not elected next time. Then what? The most important thing is that the best solution will be taken. Politics should not be a career. It's more like a mission - and a service.

I'm confident that I will find something else to do if I don't am good enough as a politician. But for the time being, I'm doing my best and I intend to do it the way I plan. So, move away: Here I come!

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