Policy Officer of the regional representation of Pays de la Loire (France) in Brussels
Freshly arrived from the Netherlands, I started working in Brussels as an intern in February 2019. Soon after, I got a position as a Policy Officer within the regional representation of Pays de la Loire, working more specifically on Urban policies, Environment and Bioeconomy, incl. agri-agro projects.
This first “real” job was (and still is!) for me very exciting and I learned a lot during the past two years. With regards to my perspective as a woman working in the (in)famous “European bubble”, I have to say that in my career life so far, I did not experience much difficulty or inequality. I did struggle at first to find my place in my job, mostly because I was still experiencing the transition from student life to what I would (poorly) refer as “adulthood”, but also because I felt I lacked expertise on topics related to agri-food and bioeconomy. And I have to admit I still feel stressed when I have to discuss with people in a higher position than me, or with more experience in the job, although I do not make a distinction for them being men or women. I learned to trust myself more and to show confidence, which I think in turn helped me gain the respect of the people I work with.
This being said, I am aware of the difficulties other female colleagues can encounter, and I have friends who have experienced difficult situations at work, situations that would likely not have happened to men. Therefore, I cannot help but fearing that I might some day find myself in a situation where my gender would be the cause of hardships. Nevertheless, I choose to remain optimistic and I can tell things are changing. As more women voices are being heard, may it be on matters of the private or professional life, I believe steps in the right direction are being taken, and I will make sure that my personal professional career in the European bubble follows the same path in the future.