Women In Leadership: Charlotte Minvielle Runs for French National Assembly

Equal Measures 2030 believe that women’s representation and inclusion in politics are not only human rights but instrumental tools to build a society in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Whilst we work with partners to reform political systems and empower young women, we are also very proud to be able to support our Head of Business Development, Charlotte Minvielle, as she enters politics and strives to deliver a more just, and equal world.

Charlotte Minvielle’s Campaign for the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale

Q. How did you get to be the leader and politician you are today ? 

I’m French and also became British 3 years ago, I grew up in Paris and also lived in San Francisco for a few years as a child. My family always talked about politics and provided me with strong social justice values. I moved to London 15 years ago to do a Masters at Kings College in International Relations and then at London School of Economics in NGOs and Development. I then started my career working in Business Development in the international development and human rights sector for organisations such as War Child, Save the Children and WaterAid. I’m also a Trustee for the organisation Pan Intercultural Arts that works on arts for social change in the UK. I see my current involvement in politics as the continuation of my professional and personal commitments.

Q. How important is the 2022 French National Assembly election? 

It’s fundamental. Even though we have a Presidential system where the election of the President gets a lot of attention and a bigger voter turn out, the Parliamentary elections are actually the most important ones. They determine who will lead the government, and people get to elect who will represent them to vote on policies, laws and budgets that will shape the future of the country. Most importantly, there is a real opportunity in this election, which doesn’t often happen, to not give the current center-right President a majority.

Q. What do you stand for?

I stand for environmental values. With the IPCC report, a group of experts working on the environment, telling us that we have 3 years to act to reverse the current trend of global warming, it’s impossible not to act on this issue. I also stand for social justice and ensuring we have a society that protects people who need support and that our economy and taxation system has the interest of the majority of our citizens at heart. And finally, I stand for equality. Gender equality, antiracism, equality for the LGBTQ+ community and for people with disabilities. There’s a lot to do to ensure our social norms change and countries make progress on gender equality as our SDG Gender Index shows. It’s critical to bring these concerns up the political agenda for systemic level changes.

Q. What sparked your interest in running and entering politics?  

I have always been active and interested in politics, being a member of French and British political parties, and being a bit of a political news geek. I listen to the French radios France Info or France Inter in the morning and the UK’s Channel 4 news in the evening if I’m in. However, I’d say it was after being inspired a couple of years ago by some women in politics such as Alice Coffin, Raphaelle Remy-Leleu, and Sandrine Rousseau who embodied my environmental and feminist values, that I decided to become more active and got elected as Co-Secretary of the French Green Party in the UK about a year ago. After that, the opportunity to stand to be a Member of Parliament representing French people living in the Northern Europe constituency, came quite quickly. I hadn’t imagined standing as a candidate in these elections but here we are.

Q. What challenges have you faced in running? 

It’s important to be honest about the fact that running a political campaign is very demanding and can be hard to combine with your personal and professional life. I haven’t had much time to spend with friends and family in the past few months and I’ve been incredibly lucky to work for an organization and with colleagues who have been very supportive during this challenging period of time. I also had to ensure I brought everyone on board with me internally when we did an alliance of all the parties on the left which wasn’t a given in the beginning but worked out really well in the end. And I had to face quite a lot of attacks and caricatures of our policies from political opponents which is to be expected, but it’s a different thing when you’re living it from the inside. Having said that, you learn a lot on a range of topics and on how to communicate your ideas, you get to meet people you could represent and listen to their stories and concerns, you build strong bonds with your campaign team, and you get the chance to speak up about your values, proposals, and vision.

Q. What changes do you think can and should be made to get more competent feminist women involved in politics? 

I think it’s essential to actively identify, encourage and support more women to stand whenever we see they’ve got the interest and potential. I don’t think I would have stood in this election if I hadn’t had the support of several people from my party who told me that I had the competency to do it and that they would support me all along the way. My party also provided a training just for women who were thinking of standing in the election, which was run by women from the party who had already taken part in elections, and who gave honest advice and responded to questions we all had. We also have a parity law in France which requires political parties to present 50% of women for elections or else they get fined. My party’s policy is to not just present 50% of women overall but to have 50% of women in the most winnable seats. This makes a big difference. We need both institutional support and changes as well as sisterhood and solidarity.