“Slovenia is a rather young state.
It counts only 25 years. What has happened in the last 25 years? A lot? A little? Too little? It is nice to have its own, such a beautiful state. Even though Slovenia is small, it certainly is a gem of the globe. All of us who live here and adore these natural beauties on a daily basis are in fact taking it for granting. And do you want to find out what else are we not aware of? We are not fully aware that a state is actually represented by its people. I was aged 21 when our new state was forming. That said, I have spent my youth in a different state and a different system. I am well aware of profound feelings of happiness, satisfaction and pride upon creation of our state. Moreover, I also have a vivid recollection of my own expectations. Many expected Slovenia was to be the new Switzerland. I, on the other hand, have never wanted a state, stepping into Switzerland shoes.
I wanted my own Slovenia.
A Slovenia, where people would live a decent and comfortable life.
A Slovenia, where the young would have a bright future and the old a guaranteed security for the autumn of their lives.
A Slovenia, where all of us would sing our national anthem with genuine pride and hang out Slovenia’s flag at national holidays.
A Slovenia, where all of us would be proud to live in this state.
But have my expectations have been met? A lot of them have. But not all. This was also one of the reasons why I decided to enter the world of politics.
When I mention the expectations upon recognition of a new state I simply have to point out what Angela Merkel said at lunch at the Western Balkans meeting in Berlin when the German PM shared her feelings at the fall of the Berlin wall. Mrs. Merkel lived in the East Germany. Besides all of expectations that came with the fall of the Berlin wall, she pointed out that the young of the East Germany desperately craved for a pair of jeans. Before the fall of the wall we could not buy them and all of a sudden jeans were made available to all of us. “But do you honestly think we were happier because of this?”, asked Merkel. “No, because at that given moment when one could buy a pair of jeans, we wanted more. A lot more”, replied Merkel.
Similarly, I can also wrap up the feeling of discomfort in Slovenia. We do have a majestic state which still clings on to social principles. All inhabitants have the option to enroll to an education program, all of them have guaranteed medical services and a fairly high level of social rights, regardless of their social position. But if take a stroll in the streets of Slovenia and ask passersby if they are contended with the life in general in Slovenia, or if turn on the TV and watch the evening news, we get the feeling our state is in turmoil.
The last two years were the most turbulent and yet the most interesting in my whole life. Do you want to know why I entered the world of politics? Because I wanted both to change and improve certain things. I never would have thought I would be appointed as the Prime Minister only after one active year in politics. But that is what happened – I had the honor to be the first Slovene woman to be appointed as the PM. Without doubt this was at the most questionable time of our young state. Did I have any privileges as a woman? Certainly not. Being a woman could also be seen as a hindrance. Certain politicians were discussing the length of my skirts, the media was dealing with patterns of my clothes, shoes and my English language skills on a daily basis. I am neither a model nor a professor of the English language, but I served the role of the Prime Minister knowing what needs to be done to put Slovenia back on the right track.
Several prominent Slovenes told me I have done a great deal for Slovenia, but the sad reality is, Slovenes do not embrace that fact. This does not matter. What matters, is the fact that I gave all my best and showed that Slovenia also has women who can be appointed the most important functions in politics.
I am an advocate of a social state. But at the same time I am also an advocate that the state should only provide help to those who are in desperate need. A known fact is that a state cannot and is not able to cover all responsibilities its citizens would have wanted. I am a supporter for providing public education and public health services accessible to everyone. I am a supporter of the fact that the state is reaching out to those in hardship but definitely not to those who do not want to look for jobs. People represent a state and a state was formed due to its people. Social liberalism is in my opinion the only righteous standpoint for a developing state with a heart for its people. A state is not able to and should not look after everything. If one gets wealthy due to honest and hard work, that is not a deadly sin. Those who are well off and have earned their money honestly give back more to the state and thus enabling the state to reach out to those who need help. I interpret this freedom as liberal.
Women in politics are still poorly represented in Slovenia. The number od women members in the National Assembly rose due to the implementation of the required gender quotas and more than 30% of seats is occupied by women in the 2014-2018 term. And I am proud to be one of them. Moreover, the highest positions in politics are still reserved for men. I would like to know why? I am certain that we have to change that in the future and this mostly applies for women herself. We should not feel bad, if a part of the household chores is done by someone else. We should not feel bad, if someone else drives the children to their spare time activities and if we do not find the time to prepare lunch every day. But this is not only witnessed in the world of politics, since the most important roles are reserved for men also in the economy. Although coercion is not the best way to do it, my opinion is that only the implementation of required quotas at the highest positions in the economy will lead to a change. It was not that long ago when women did not have the right to vote and not that long ago when we were not allowed to wear trousers. Can women even understand that today? We can not. And I believe in a couple of years the notion of having women at the highest positions in both the politics and the economy will not be out of sorts. But we, women, are the only ones who can change this practice. We are the ones who will change the outlook on that in our society. And not with words but with actions. I am proud to be the first woman to be appointed as the Prime Minister in Slovenia.”