[Brussels, 05 December 2019] Last night, the European Movement International, together with the European Women’s Lobby, hosted the 2019 edition of the Women of Europe Awards ceremony. The Awards, inspired the national awards of several National European Movement Councils, are handed out annually to honour women striving to advance the European project in their professional or private capacity.
Members of the European Movement International and of the European Women’s Lobby nominate women who they believe have made extraordinary contributions to promoting European issues and advancing gender equality in Europe. The Awards are handed out in four different categories and the winners are selected by a jury of ten women, which included EWL’s president Gwendoline Lefebvre and Gloria Mills Women’s Committee President of European Trade Union Confederation which is a full member of the EWL. While the awards are presented to individual or groups of women, the aim is to recognise and celebrate all women and girls in Europe, in all their diversity. EWL President Gwendoline Lefebvre said, “The Women of Europe awards are a great opportunity to honour, thank and amplify the voices of fantastic women coming from all across Europe who are shaping our future. The Awards happen at a particularly important moment, with the new European institutions taking office, as they give visibility to women and girls’ diverse identities and experiences in Europe, which have to be acknowledged and addressed by EU policies”.
The Women of Europe Awards 2019 are awarded in four categories, and the winners are
Winning the Woman in Power Award: Laura Codruța Kövesi - Chief EU Public Prosecutor
Kövesi received the award for showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe through her notable work against high-level corruption in Romania. She recently became the first Chief EU Public Prosecutor at the newly established European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO). Upon receiving the Woman in Power Award, Laura Codruța Kövesi said, “I am very honoured to receive the “Woman in Power” award and I see it as a recognition of my efforts and as an encouragement to not give up on my work. In my view, to be powerful means to gain the trust of the people, and importantly, to succeed in keeping it. In my line of work, you can do so only by working professionally, being consequent and by respecting the law at all times. This award belongs equally to all of the people that have supported me in the fight against corruption, and in upholding the rule of law and European values. I would especially like to thank all my supporters over the years. Moving forward, we need to work to promote equality, justice and the rule of law, as the European Movement has done for the last 70 years.”
Winning the Woman in Action Award: Milena Kadieva - Human Rights Lawyer
Kadieva, who is an EWL Board Member, representing our Bulgarian Platform of EWL, received the award for undertaking extraordinary actions at the grassroots level in Europe through her work as a human rights lawyer at the Gender Alternatives Foundation, which is working towards the protection and empowerment of women. Upon receiving the Woman in Action Award, Milena Kadieva said, “Thank you. My mission as a human rights lawyer has always been to protect women and girls from violence, to work for gender equality and to support those in need. I am grateful to the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby for recognizing my work and awarding me with such an important award. It is a recognition of every active woman in Europe. It is an inspiration to all women and girls in Europe that their actions matter. It is a sign that even the work of a single woman could change the world.”
Winning the Woman in Business Award: Eleonora Azzaoui & Vera Günther - Founders of Mimycri
Azzaoui and Günther received the award for advancing European integration with an entrepreneurial spirit through their work at Mimycri, an organisation which designs and manufactures high-quality bags from rubber refugee boats and aims to stimulate conversations about escape and migration. Upon receiving the Woman in Business Award, Eleonora Azzaoui & Vera Günther said, "Only 12% of investor money in Europe goes to women-led start-ups. This is shocking. This is wrong. It is 2019. It is Europe. Changing this number to 50% has to be our priority. Achieving this means that we don’t equate male qualities with success qualities. It means that being a parent and an entrepreneur is supported and desirable for all sexes. It means that some people will have to give up their privilege."
Winning in the Woman in Youth Activism Award: Johanna Nejedlová - Co-Founder of Konsent
Nejedlová, who is one of our Observatory Experts and a board member of our Czech national coordination, received the award for strengthening the voice of young women in Europe through her dedicated work to make Czech society a better and safer place by educating on sexual harassment and the consequences of it. Upon receiving the Woman in Youth Activism Award, Johanna Nejedlová said, "It’s imperative to eliminate violence against women in order to achieve equality. We cannot expect women to truly flourish, both personally and professionally, if their safety remains threatened by harassment, assault or rape. We need to focus on creating a safer and better environment for women. And, there is no shortage of tools to do so. We need politicians and public figures to speak up and make gender-based sexual violence their priority and the first step on the long journey towards gender equality is the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention in all European countries."
It was an inspiring ceremony, celebrating the incredible achievements and contributions of women in Europe. You can read about all the shortlisted nominees here.
Congratulations to the winners, and to ALL the women and girls who were nominated for this year’s award. Huge thanks to our partner European Movement International and to our members who took part in the initiative.
Please find all the winner’s speech oh our Instagram here
The photo album of the evening can be found here.
The event was sponsored by The event was sponsored by Metro, FTI consulting and Baker McKenzie.