EWL News

First Women of Europe Awards go to Margrethe Vestager & Adela Ionela Dinu

[Brussels, 14 December 2016] On December 1, together with the European Movement International (EMI) we held the first Women of Europe Awards ceremony at the Women’s Rights House of Brussels, Amazone asbl.

The Women of Europe Awards is a new EMI-EWL initiative, building upon the national awards of several National European Movement Councils. The Awards were handed out to honour women striving to advance the European project in their professional or private capacity. The role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognised, and the Awards highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and help increase the presence and involvement of women in debates about Europe and its future.

Jacki Davis wonderfully hosted the evening and the Zoltan Polgar Trio brought a great ambiance to the event with their extensive jazz repertoire.

A Jury composed of high-level stakeholders from the cultural, social, media and political sectors chose the first Award winner. The members of the jury included: Anna Diamantopoulou, President of the Greek think-tank To Diktio, former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Maria Arena MEP, Member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality; Daniela Vincenti, Editor-in-Chief at EurActiv; Rick Zedník, Chief Executive Officer of the Women in Parliaments Global Forum; Eva Paunova MEP, European Movement International Vice-President; Pauline Mukanza, European Women’s Lobby Board Member.

The winner of the Woman of Power category was Margerethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition.

Daniela Vincenti, jury member, remarked: “She has succeeded mission impossible: taking on the EU countries’ illegal tax breaks to multinationals and beyond. Her bravery and courage are being quoted as her major traits of character.”

Vestager dedicated the award to every woman who takes action for a better, democratic and more equal Europe.

Jury member Anna Diamantopoulou, commented: “My warmest and most sincere congratulations to a very special woman. Someone who managed to demonstrate that, by effectively using the powers of her position, Europe can implement compliance with the rules by all regardless of strength or power. Indeed a very well deserved recognition.”

The other nominees in the Woman in Power category were: Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Catherine Day, former Secretary General of the European Commission; Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission; Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

European Movement and European Women’s Lobby members from all over Europe selected Adela Ionela Dinu as the winner of the Woman in Action category. Dinu, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was deemed to have undertaken extraordinary actions at grass-roots level in Romania and Europe.

Adela Ionela Dinu worked tirelessly to make a positive change in the life of women in Europe. She made a mark in the field of domestic violence and access to education, and developed a new management approach based on gender equality that was passed on to over 3.000 female managers and entrepreneurs in Europe. She dedicated her career to empowering women, until a sudden disease resulted in a too early death in February 2016.

Vasile Moldovan and Tina Ciursă, two former colleagues of Adela Ionela Dinu, who attended the Awards on her behalf, shared Dinu’s own words from a conference she spoke at in October 2015: “Management and feminine entrepreneurship, is not theory, it is real life experience. We learn from the experiences of our colleagues, women managers or entrepreneurs, about what and how they succeeded. We encourage everyone to try to find as many female role models as possible, as we can guarantee that they are not just one or two. Women managers or entrepreneurs are many and everywhere. We just have to look and see.”

Other nominees for the Woman in Action category included: Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, Mayor of Almere and former Dutch politician; Edit Schlaffer, founder of Women Without Borders; Esmeralda Romanez, Romani women activist; Nadiya Savchenko, former Ukrainian Army aviation pilot and member of the Ukranian Parliament.

Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General, European Movement International, said: “The fundamental premise of the European ideal is the defence of values, among them equality. Despite considerable advancements, not least thanks to the EU, women’s place in our society remains undervalued and the role women have played in building Europe has gone unrecognised for far too long. We hope this award will be a small step in addressing that. We want to celebrate equality in the private and public sphere, at the national and European level and we look forward to holding this Awards together for many years to come.”

Joanna Maycock, Secretary General European Women’s Lobby, said “Women are woefully underrepresented in power and decision-making in Europe. Less than 25% of members of parliaments in Europe and 3% of CEOs in top companies are women. The Awards aim to highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and to increase the presence and involvement of women in debates about Europe and its future.”

The Awards that were handed out during the evening were beautifully made by Mitsy Sleurs from ArtMind.

The event was kindly sponsored by ACCA, Burson-Marsteller, Ernst & Young, and Volkswagen. The media partner for this event was EurActiv.

The first edition of the Women of Europe Awards was considered to be a great success and the European Movement International and European Women’s Lobby are looking forward to continue hosting the awards during the following years.

You can take a look at photos from the event on our Flickr Page.

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