Party leader’s resignation sparks debate
The recent and sudden resignation of Une Bastholm as leader of the Green Party of Norway (MDG) not only surprised her colleagues and sparked a debate on party policy. It has also sparked a debate on why it is still much more difficult for a woman to balance career and family than for a man.
“I’ve been pulled in too many directions,” Bastholm said of why she was stepping down as party leader, just months after being reelected to a second term.
“Being a party leader isn’t just a full-time job,” she later told the newspaper. Klassekampen. “It’s also a way of life. It worked well enough for a long time, but it got a little too much. I have been party leader for six years. During this time I had (two) children and ended up missing spending more time with my daughters.
Bastholm, 36, also said she felt like she didn’t have the time or energy to be both a political party leader and a mother of young children. She will continue as MDG MP, but just wants to spend more time with her family and young children before they start school.
Bastholm thus became MDG’s third senior politician. (Miljøpartiet of grønne) to resign from party leadership positions in order to have more time with their young children: Lan Marie Berg also continued as an MP for MDG but resigned from the party leadership, while Hanna Marcussen, one of the The main leaders of the Greens in the Oslo city government are leaving politics altogether.
“Combining life with young children with high politics requires setting extremely difficult priorities,” Berg told the newspaper. Dagsavisen, “And standing on the front line for a rapidly growing radical and environmentalist party is extremely difficult. Une has been doing this for several years and it is clear that it has taken a lot out of her. I have a lot of respect for the decision she made.
Marcussen agreed, “I have a lot of respect for women who manage to be at the top of politics while being a mother to young children, but I felt I wasn’t doing well enough for both sides. I also wanted more time and energy for my son.
Everyone recognizes that it is still mostly women who move away because of their children and their family, almost never men. “In principle, I don’t think there should be any difference,” Marcussen said, “but women may live with certain expectations that they may have created themselves, that they have to satisfying both as a mother and as a top politician.Then it’s hard when you feel like you’re not delivering.
She doesn’t think MDG itself is making it any harder than other parties, where women from Labor’s Gro Harlem Brundtland to the Progress Party’s Sylvi Listhaug have clung to political power despite having children at home. Instead, Marcussen said, MDG simply has more young politicians who have taken on leadership roles at an age when having children is more common.
Bastholm herself pointed out that she always had help and support from both her party and her family, but she just never felt like she had enough time. She also had the same long paid maternity leave of about a full year that is available to all mothers in Norway. The problem is, like most parties, there are a lot of evening gatherings, and that’s hard to balance with the needs of the family when the only time of day she could have with her kids was after when they leave daycare and before they need to go. in bed.
Bastholm had a lot of sympathy across party lines, including Listhaug of the Conservative Progress Party who otherwise opposes the MDGs on most issues. “I can well understand Bastholm’s position on this, especially when the kids are very young and it’s extremely demanding to make the day work for the family,” Listhaug said. Dagsavis. Listhaug’s children are now aged five, 11 and 14 and although she was not party leader when her youngest was born, she was a government minister and deputy leader.
“I think all families feel the same, and it’s even more demanding when you’re a party leader or a minister,” Listhaug said. “I have a lot of respect for her (Bastholm) decision, but I think it’s sad because she’s a good politician.” Listhaug added that she could not have combined her own roles if her children did not understand her role as a politician and if she had not had her husband’s “fantastic contributions on the home front”.
Others, including Kari Elisabeth Kaski of the Socialist Left Party (SV), also call Bastholm’s decision ‘sad’ as they believe top politicians should come from all walks of life in order to better represent the public. “It’s important for our democracy,” Kaski said. Dagsavis. “We need to have people in different life situations and with different functioning abilities. I think many understand the pressure Bastholm was under when he had to combine full-time work, children and political duties.
Anette Trettebergstuen, currently a Labor Party minister, agreed. “Yes, it’s an advantage (when the children grow up) but do we really want it? Politics, from the bottom up, must have a place for everyone. Une’s departure is sad because she is a very good politician and sad because she thought the system was not working.
Guri Melbye, leader of the Liberal Party, echoed those remarks, noting that as a mother of young children herself, she knows “how demanding it is to combine the lives of small children with high-profile politics. level”. She said she was “very lucky” to have “smart people around me” who can step in “so I can be a mom too”.
Now the Greens leadership appears to win, and questions arise as to whether he will become less radical to gain more public acceptance. Deputy Chief Arild Hermstad immediately took over from Bastholm and even half-joked that he “had an advantage” because his own children grew up and moved out. Now he faces challenges from others, including several women, who hope to curry favor with party members at an extraordinary national meeting in the next three months.
“Nothing is certain here,” party member Sigrid Z Heiberg said before other candidates even started throwing their hats into the ring. While former party spokesman/leader Rasmus Hansson has said he supports Hermstad, Heiberg is weighing his own chances, as are Vestland’s Natalia Golis, the party’s other deputy leader, Ingrid Liland, and d ‘others.
“We have to focus on the most important issue, which is the climate and environmental crisis,” Heiberg told the NTB news office. “We cannot be distracted by all the other parties trying to downplay the issues of overconsumption and economic policies that are a disaster for our planet.” Even though climate issues were an integral part of last year’s election campaign, MDG fared much worse than expected and was later assessed as having been too radical and unwilling to compromise.
“I’m not afraid to be radical,” Heiberg said, saying most Norwegians want climate issues addressed “and need a party that’s clear about it.”