Empowered and mobilised by the supportive community created through the 100 for the 100th events of June 2018, Mary O’Neill went on to become a politician, committed to many political activities in her local party's branch, where she was recently elected to take the position of the Branch Equality Officer.
I am passionate about structural issues which inadvertently play a role in making social groups including Black African and Minority Ethnic more marginalized. Accordingly, for a very long time I have been longing to get opportunities to raise awareness among key people of the challenges encountered by those groups in trying to overcome problems relating to unemployment and calling for their intervention. My intention was to get politicians aware of barriers to opportunities experienced by many people from BME communities and call for their response in addressing the problem. Although I never thought before that my passion about equality issues would produce the idea of me being a politician, this passion is what motivated me to get into politics.
In June 2018 I joined 100 for 100th event bringing together women from Scotland to celebrate the legacy of the Suffragettes and look forward to a time where there is gender balance in political representation. The event was very inclusive and the atmosphere was very welcoming. All facilitators and speakers were extraordinarily inspiring and they were transparently able to make us aware of the current situation in which women are generally underrepresented in the political arena. They mobilized us by clearly informing us about the goals which were intended to be reached in order to remove the polarization between men and women in taking leadership related roles by 2022. I quickly began to have some feelings of togetherness. I believed that I was in the right place, where I could freely participate in sharing my opinions or thoughts. It was very inspiring to be with individuals with similar mindset and I felt so privileged to be part of the large group of women from such different walks of life.
The June event played the key role in bringing me to the main stream from the marginalized. It encouraged me to believe that I could be among those women who will take office by 2022. For the first time I was acknowledged and affirmed that no matter your background is, you can still participate in politics. The Parliament Project has played a significant role in making me aware that it is possible to become a politician myself in order to address those social problems as I was given such good cooperation and encouragement by the team. I never thought that I would be starting a political journey in the near future, but due to The Parliament Project's tireless support, I became a politician, and I am now more committed to many political activities in my local party's branch, where I was recently elected to take the position of the Branch Equality Officer.