From a medical student to a powerful politician!
December 1, 2019 became a significant day for the political life of Western Europe. For the first time, the European Commission was headed by a woman. She was the German politician Ursula von der Leyen. This cannot be considered a complete surprise, given Leyen’s success in previous positions and the rapidity of her political career. But this path was not an easy one for her.
Life Before the Political Career
Ursula was born in 1958 in Brussels, in the big family of the German politician Ernst Albrecht. In the 70s, he held a leading position in the European Commission, was a member of the Christian Democratic Union Party.
Ursula took up her professional education in 1976. Until the late 70s, she studied economics in Göttingen, Münster and at the London School. However, at the turn of the decades, she decided to drastically change the direction of her activity and took up medicine. Until 1987, she studied at the Hannover Medical School and received her doctorate 4 years later.
While studying in Hanover, Ursula von Leyen met and married a professor at this educational institution, Heiko von der Leyen. At the same time, professor Heiko was running a business selling medical equipment. The spouses have 7 children. The first child was born in 1987, and the youngest one was born in 1999.
After graduating, until 1992, the future politician worked as an assistant doctor in a gynecological clinic. Later, she moved to the USA with her husband. The spouses lived there until 1996, and Ursula managed to graduate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
In the second half on the 90s, Ursula and Heiko returned to Europe. Ursula didn’t go back to medical practice, but worked as a researcher at the Department of Epidemiology at her native Hannover Medical School until 2002.
Ursula von der Leyen’s political activities began in 1990. She became a member of the Christian Democratic Union Party. The urban work was not particularly serious and she could even combine it with medical practice.
The first serious career step was made in 2001, when she joined the city government, and then headed the local health committee. The next serious step was the victory in the elections to the Parliament of Lower Saxony. Since 2003, Ursula had been already working in the Cabinet of the head of Lower Saxony, where she was responsible for healthcare.
The fact, that von der Leyen had many children, caught the attention of the press, political talk shows and various women’s magazines. Many people saw her as the symbol of modern feminism and maternity. Ursula’s popularity became a powerful impetus for her federal career.
In 2005, Angela Merkel herself offered her a job in Berlin.
Ursula von der Leyen (2010)
Over the years, von der Leyen has done a lot to support young families in the capital’s minister cabinet. She increased the benefits for parents, improved funding for preschool institutions and provided various forms of support to mothers.
Ursula’s energy and efficiency allowed her to occupy more and more high positions. In 2009, she became the minister of labor and social affairs. After 4 years she became the head of the Ministry of Defense. Leyen became the first woman in this position in the history of Germany. Here she worked noticeably worse. There were continuous criticism and dissatisfaction with the state of the army.
In summer, 2009, Ursula left tis position, but in less then 4 months, she got a new position. Neither the activities of the European Commission, nor the rhetoric of statements have changed globally under her. But it’s too early to sum up the results.