“I feel there are so many things I want to do, but I know I can’t change the world overnight,” says Marie Wickberg. “I need to take it step by step. But I’m very impatient and I want to do it all at once.”
The Centre Party member who is currently running in the EU Parliament election is a newcomer to politics. But she says she’s not intimidated by politicians, and thinks the system could benefit from a fresh face and new perspectives.
“I have a passion for politics that you might lose if you have 30 years’ experience,” says Wickberg. “We’ve seen a lot of tired old men in the European Parliament and we don’t need more.”
Wickberg’s involvement in politics began as a “coincidence” when she was 17 years old. While writing for a newspaper, she became inspired to make changes in society. She began working for her local municipality government, where she was the only young female among a conglomerate of older men, and then decided to join a political party.
“My parents were involved in the Centre Party, so at first I didn’t want to be in the same party as them,” she recalls. “But I knew I was a liberal and I didn’t belong anywhere else. I was also involved in environmental issues, so I wanted to join a green liberal party, and that was the Centre Party.”
Wickberg says if elected to the EU Parliament, she plans to focus on improving gender equality and environment issues. She says she wants to spread the legalization of abortion to set an example for other countries around the world. She also says she wants to increase women’s participation in the labour market, which currently rests at 80 per cent in Sweden but only 60 per cent in the EU.
“That’s too low, we need to have a higher goal,” Wickberg explains. “We need more female politicians at a higher level. For example, the president of the Commission has never been a woman, not since the EU was founded.”
At 25 years old, Wickberg’s effervescent attitude to affecting change is notable in her voice.
“If you want a more gender equal, green, liberal Europe, then vote for me,” she says. “The EU level parliament has a lot of impact, and I feel I need to be somewhere where I can make a difference.”