Anna Diamantopoulou is a Greek politician, currently President of the Athens-based think tank “DIKTIO” Network for Reform in Greece and Europe.
She has served as:
• Minister of Education,
• Minister for Development, Competitiveness, and Shipping,
• European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities in the Prodi Commission (1999–2004).
1. How did you think that your future-self would evolve when you were younger?
In the very beginning of my adult life, my goal was to pursue a successful career in the scientific field I had decided to study, engineering. At that time, I was only thinking of politics, which I also got involved in from a very young age, as a volunteering side activity and definitely not as a cause which I would devote my whole life to.
2. Did you ever believe that you would accomplish such a career?
In politics, especially when you are young, you dream about how to have a positive impact to your home country and the world. You don’t set concrete career goals. My career was the result of my devotion and passion as well as of the developments and changes of our epoch.
3. How can you maintain a balance between family and politics?
I do believe that women play an important role in the European political landscape and beyond. Women are now serving as Prime Ministers and Presidents, Foreign and Finance Ministers, high-ranking diplomats and even army Generals. The progressive institutional framework, educational system as well as the existing political culture and system are constantly improving women involvement in leadership positions. What I do consider a negative factor is the financial crisis which, especially in the South, made it more difficult for women to rise to leadership.
4. Do you believe that politics is becoming weaker or stronger compared to the economy of a country?
The free flow of capitals and the evolution of globalization have enhanced the political leverage of big multinational corporations, especially high-tech ones, in the international level. Domestically however, their levels of influence depend a lot on the efficient functioning of institutions and democracy.
5. Do you think that DIKTIO’s work reduces unemployment or not?
DIKTIO has given the opportunity to young people to gain valuable work experience, network themselves with important personalities and participate in large projects. All these things can, without doubt, be beneficially used, when pursuing a career relevant to our domains of action.
6. Do you believe that women will play a pivotal role in political and economic leadership in Europe?
I am an optimist. Developments worldwide, and especially in Europe are eventually creating powerful leadership models that encourage participation and active involvement of young women in politics and public service.
7. How do you see women’s future in leadership?
It is indeed a difficult equation which however you have to solve if you want to remain a normal person. What plays a major role is your partner. And mine was a perfect one.