What do YOU think?

Text and photos by Sharifa Sahar

From June 6th to June 9th, 2024, Europeans will have an opportunity to shape the future of European politics during the European elections.

In Sweden, the elections will be held on 9 June, 2024. Swedish and EU citizens who are or have been registered residents in Sweden and are 18 years of age or older on the day of the election have the right to vote. They can select 21 candidates as members of the EU for the next five years. Additionally, voting in advance, by proxy, or from abroad is possible. This period offers a collective opportunity to influence the direction of the European Union. Every vote counts, whether it relates to local, national, or pan-European issues. It’s a chance to voice concerns and advocate for causes that matter.

Monika Eliasson, 45 years old and married with two children aged 9 and 7, has been living in Sweden for 22 years since moving from Poland. Monika expresses uncertainty, questioning the impact of her participation. She is sceptical about the significance of her individual contribution, expressing doubts about the EU’s ability to be influenced by individual voters.

Meanwhile, Manijeh, a PhD holder from Iran, has been a resident of Sweden for the past 32 years. Currently working as a researcher in the Swedish Health Organization, Manijeh perceives a significant distance between the EU and the general populace, despite the direct impact of many EU decisions on people’s daily lives. Having voted in previous EU elections, she expresses a steadfast commitment to continue voting in the future. Manijeh believes that the choices made within the EU framework have profound implications for society, the world, and the environment. As such, she asserts that voters bear the responsibility of acquiring comprehensive knowledge about the EU policies of different political parties before casting their votes. Manijeh emphasizes the importance of supporting parties that advocate for equal rights, peace, and addressing the ongoing climate crisis, aligning with her vision for a better society.

It’s important to recognize the broad impact of the European elections, particularly on migrant women. Migrant women constitute a significant segment of Sweden’s population, representing around 20% according to Statistics Sweden (SCB). Despite Sweden’s reputation for immigrant friendliness, migrant women, like other immigrants, encounter integration challenges such as language barriers, cultural adjustment, and accessing education and employment. Sweden, therefore, has instituted policies to promote equality and combat discrimination, including gender-based discrimination, aiming to ensure migrant women have equal opportunities.

Migrant women contribute significantly to Swedish society across various sectors, including healthcare, education, science, culture, and entrepreneurship, enriching the nation’s cultural fabric and fostering economic growth.

All migrant women eligible to vote in the EU, make your voices heard in the upcoming elections! Your participation is essential. Each vote not only counts but serves as a pivotal voice in shaping the future of the European Union. By voting, you ensure your perspectives and needs influence the decisions made at the highest levels of governance. Remember, the power to effect change is in your hands  —“Your vote matters. If you vote, you have a say.”