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The Women of Europe Awards are jointly organised by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby, building upon the national awards of several National European Movement Councils.

In 2020 on December 2, the Women of Europe Awards’ celebrated its fifth anniversary. Indeed, the Women of Europe Awards were launched in 2016, to highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and to increase the involvement of women in debates about Europe and its future. While the role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognised, the awards aim to acknowledge and showcase their inspiring initiatives which lend a voice to women across Europe and defend European values such as democracy, inclusion and diversity.

This edition of the Women of Europe award ceremony was exceptionally held online. Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, who gave the keynote opening speech said, “Women lead and demand change across sectors and fields, be it in the health and care sectors during the coronavirus crisis, be it in democracy and human rights defenders in Poland and Belarus. You all deserve our recognition.”

The event was live-streamed below, as well as on the European Movement’s FacebookTwitter and YouTube pages.

Woman in Power | showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe
Terry Reintke, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarusian Opposition Leader & Human Rights Activist
Khamshajiny (Kamzy) Gunaratnam, Deputy Mayor of Oslo

According to the jury, representing extraordinary women in their own right from politics, business, civil society and academia, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya won the Woman in Power award for her actions as Belarusian opposition leader and human rights activist. In Belarus and beyond, she has been a strong and outspoken voice for free democracy and the rule of law. And despite fierce opposition, she spearheads the country’s pursuit of new beginnings and a fairer society. The movement she has helped build in Belarus is nothing short of inspiring.

Upon receiving the Woman in Power Award, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya said, “Speaking in front of you today, I feel like I am not alone. Hundreds and thousands of Belarusians stand together with me. Among them, tens of thousands of women are taking enormous risks defending their right to live in a free and democratic country. (…) I encourage all of you to keep focussing on Belarus and support us in our fight for freedom. I am very thankful to all of you for this award. It belongs to every brave woman in Belarus who fights for freedom and dignity.”

Woman in Action | undertaking extraordinary actions at grassroots level in Europe
Maryan Abdulkarim, Writer & Artist
Malda Avramenko, Mediator & Activist for Roma Families and Children in Ventspils
European Federation of Nurses Associations

According to the jury, the European Federation of Nurses Associations, representing and supporting 3 million+ nurses across Europe, won the Woman in Action award for their extraordinary service on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to protect us all. Their perseverance is what has kept Europe going. This award is for all nurses across Europe – thank you!

Upon receiving the Woman in Action Award, Elizabeth Adams, on behalf of the European Federation of Nurses Associations, said, “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, frontline nurses have been instrumental in protecting health and saving lives, with significant risk to their own lives and that of their families. It is with pride that Europeans across the continent have seen and understood the invaluable contribution of nursing. The 2020 Women of Europe Award acknowledges this selfless commitment, exceptional skills and their hard work.”

Woman in Business | advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit
Alice Bentinck, Co-founder of Entrepreneur First and of Code First Girls
Sara Nuru, Co-Founder of nuruCoffee and nuruWomen e.V.
Team Memory Haven, Developers of the app Memory Heaven

According to the jury, Sara Nuru won the Woman in Business award for empowering women and promoting female entrepreneurs, and for using her sustainable business and not-for-profit association in Germany to build a bridge through Europe and Africa – through shared values of gender equality and fair business models. Her accomplishments, built on collaboration and compassion, are an example to us all.

Woman in Youth Activism | for women aged 15 to 30 strengthening the voice of young women in Europe
Maria Atanasova, Volunteer & Advocate for Integration of Roma Youth
Ynaée Benaben, Co-Founder of En avant toute(s)
Iryna Yarmolenko, Founder of the NGO “Center for Social Communication”

According to the jury, Atanasova won the Woman in Youth Activism award for her tireless work fighting for more visibility of the Roma community and for more participation of the Romani youth in society and politics. Her volunteering and mentorship continues to greatly contribute to uplifting one of Bulgaria’s most disadvantaged minorities.

Upon receiving the Woman in Youth Activism Award, Mariya Atanasova said, “The Women of Europe Awards are important because we still need a reminder in society that there are strong women across Europe who are great role models.”

The Jury

We encourage you to join the discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #WomenofEurope. You can also follow the event organisers @EMInternational & @EuropeanWomen. More information regarding the 2019 Women of Europe Awards edition, including list of shortlisted nominees and winners, is available here.

Media partner: euronews

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