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What do women dream about for the future of European democracy?

Future of Europe / COMPENDIUM
Corina Stratulat

Date: 08/03/2023
Dreams can be mirrors into one’s soul, expressions of one’s supreme aspirations, safe spaces to confront one’s deep-seated fears, breeding grounds for creative solutions to problems or the sprouts of tomorrow’s reality. As such, dreams are essential at times of tearing down and building anew, like the ones in which we live. When the status quo ante no longer exists and will not return. When our sense of security is threatened, and our democratic values are challenged. When existing principles, instruments, and approaches feel like an increasingly straitjacket and the need for fundamental reform has become imperative for the EU to adapt and thrive.

What do women dare to imagine for the future of European democracy at this watershed moment (Zeitenwende)?

To commemorate International Women's Day, I posed this question to female colleagues. My goal was not to have female authors escape the current situation in a fantasy world but rather to encourage them to freely imagine what European democracy should become, irrespective of the present. 

My call received 36 contributions authored by women from various EU member states but also the Balkan countries, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and Turkey. To help orient the reader, these have been grouped under three different headings that capture the substance of their message: one includes all entries on the general development of the EU, another brings together all reflections on the evolution of European democracy, and the third contains all pieces linked to women’s rights and participation in political affairs. Under each heading, the texts are ordered alphabetically.

All entries testify to the power of dreams to speak truth and ambition. They also reveal the capacity of women to dream big, long term, inclusively, empathetically, and passionately. They highlight the most important problems facing the EU and come up with concrete ways to solve them. Many participants already pioneer or implement in their work the ideas they put forward. Just like their counterparts, the female authors who took part in this exercise are mothers, daughters, grandmas, wives, single ladies, successful and established leaders and opinion-shapers in their fields or at the start of their careers. They have various educational backgrounds, nationalities, life experiences, and ages. But like all women, they are so much more. The strong, clear, and courageous voices that come through their entries to this compendium offer a stark reminder that women’s contribution to the future of our European democratic societies and to our Union is as unique, resourceful, and boundless as it is indispensable.

How do your own dreams compare to theirs? Keep reading to find out…

Read the full paper here.

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