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Léna can’t imagine moving to any other European city than Berlin for her Erasmus year. It is a great place for studying international law and political science since Humboldt University is one of the best schools in Europe and Berlin is a place where lots of international politics take place. Her stay in this city also means a break from her life in France, the beginning of her adult life, and experiencing a different culture and vibe. And what she is enjoying a lot is the energy of the city, the open-mindedness and the fact that people here are very accepting and free. Apart from that she feels very safe in Berlin compared to France where the men keep catcalling and being creepy to women sometimes. “In Berlin, I can wear anything and no one stares. Everyone is simply minding their business without judging or caring what others do… I feel very safe in this city, even if I am coming back home at 5 AM “

Léna’s life plan is to make the world a better place. She says it might sound too naive or cliché for someone but she doesn’t see it this way. 80 years ago, women weren’t allowed to vote in France, and if they weren’t naive and idealistic, they wouldn’t change anything and society would be stuck in one place. Thanks to people like these, things keep changing and we are moving forward. But according to Léna, nothing is done yet and we can´t stop trying to make the world we are living in better. Léna is very passionate about other human beings and she used to want to be a doctor to make the world a better place. But later she realized there are also other options for how to help people and maybe have an even bigger impact. And that is how Léna´s journey in law and politics started. These two areas are bounded together and are important for example for women’s rights, which is one of the things that, according to Léna, need to be improved. Although women’s rights have been much better and stronger than in the past, there are still notable differences not only in society but also on a legal basis. There are still certain expectations or the fact that it should be mainly women taking birth control and being careful about not getting pregnant or the fact that young girls are shaped and influenced by their parents’ ideas a lot. Therefore, it is essential to have a debate about this problem and build understanding in society. However, one has to be careful about positive discrimination that is present a lot nowadays. “I don’t want to be successful and accepted to all universities because of being a colored woman, but because I am hardworking and I have the right skills for that “. And that should be the same with women in politics. As Léna said, we are still lacking women in politics, but we should not just install a certain number of women to the function, just so the numbers are even. Society should realize that women also have the skills to be in leading positions. They lead differently, but they have the same skills and potential to be in politics as men. These female politicians then can become role models for other girls, who will want to be politicians when they grow up. Léna compares this situation to the profession of doctors. There used to be mainly male doctors but that has changed, and now so many young girls dream about becoming doctors, as they have female role models in this area…

„Sometimes the people keep saying that the situation is already fine now, that there are many women in leading positions, and that even politics is full of women. But at the moment, there is only a second female prime minister in France, and we have never had any female president yet either…“

Another problem according to Léna is that society keeps giving reasons for when a woman is doing well, it can´t be a simple fact as it has been with men. Women in politics and leading positions are also being commented on much more than men. For example, if a female politician is not smiling or she is wearing something that people don’t like, they are discussing her outfit and look and even the media write articles about the appearance and behavior of female politicians, rather than about their contribution to the political scene. On the other hand, if a man in politics isn’t smiling or wearing a nice outfit people don’t comment on that and don’t care about it as much as they do about women.

Although people have made a lot of steps forward, we still don´t live in a perfect society, and this doesn’t count only for poor and undeveloped areas but also for modern Europe. “I don’t want to live in this place, just get comfortable and complain. I want to change something…” says Léna and while listening to her I can imagine very well that she is and will be one of the people changing our world into a better place.

Léna’s clear ideas and opinions, her energy, brightness, and determination to do great things for people, move her forward toward her dreams. But what I found to be the most powerful of Léna’s skills is the desire to learn and explore and that she really listens to people. No matter if the person talking to her has opposite ideas and energy, Léna always listens with so much empathy and without any judgment, and she is able to talk to this person and to make them listen to her arguments and ideas. And this is so powerful. It happens a lot that people with different opinions can’t talk to and listen to each other. Léna can do this, and as I have experienced many times, people who she talks to are always moved and motivated by her and are leaving thinking about the things that she talked about. Léna is never lacking the empathy, strength and woman power which makes her such an inspiring person not only for me… 

Léna is one of the most inspiring people I met in Berlin and what’s more, a very close friend I bumped into on the very first day of our language course. It was a love at first sight that led to lots of long chats, adventures, and exploring in Berlin. And although I could write thousands of words about this bright, energetic, and curious woman, this story focuses on one of Léna’s biggest passions and dreams: How to make the world a better place. Read more about Feminism, politics, Léna’s wish to help people, and her power to listen.

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