EWL News

The 2018 Women of Europe Awards: the WINNERS

[Brussels, 29 November 2018] Last night, the European Movement International, together with the European Women’s Lobby, hosted the 2018 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 seven women, which included EWL’s Executive Committee member from the European Disability Forum Pirkko Mahlamäki. While the awards are presented to individual or groups of women, the aim is to recognise and celebrate all women and girls of Europe, in all their diversity. EWL President Gwendoline Lefebvre said, “The Women of Europe Awards are a perfect opportunity to amplify women’s voices in the heart of the political discussion about the future of Europe. The awards must also give visibility to the reality of women and girls’ diverse identities. Through acknowledging and addressing this, we can positively impact the lived experiences of women and girls across the continent.”

The winner in the Woman in Power category, recognising extraordinary political leadership in Europe, was Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, for her work on social rights within the EU. Marianne Thyssen dedicated her award, to “the many women who implement the European pillar of social rights. This is an award by women, for women, about women, and it means a lot to me."

The award for Woman in Action, celebrating extraordinary actions at grassroots level in Europe, went to Orla O’Connor, Ailbhe Smyth & Grainne Griffin, the co-directors of the Together4Yes campaign. The three women co-led this inspiring civil society movement to repeal the eight amendment in the Republic of Ireland, mobilising thousands of volunteers across the country. Receiving the Award, they said: “Removing the eighth amendment was so important for women in Ireland, but was also so important for women in Europe, and globally, in terms of advancing reproductive rights for women.”

The winner in the Woman in Business category, for contribution to advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit, was Axelle Lemaire, Global Head of Terra Numerata at Roland Berger. Axelle thanked everyone for the Award with a video message: “[Being a woman in business] is still a challenge. Receiving this prize helps me, helps us and helps society to become more inclusive, more gender equal and a nicer place to live."

The award for Woman in Youth Activism, recognising the incredible achievements of young women and girls in Europe, went to Sigrid Friis Proschowsky, chair of Radikal Ungdom in Denmark, a political youth group fighting to change the perception of the EU among young people. "The EU is a long-term relationship not just a random Tinder swipe. It is our generation that is going to shape the future of Europe." said Sigrid when receiving the Award, presented to her by last year’s Women in Youth winner Mina Jaf, from Women Refugee Route.

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.

The event was sponsored by Metro, BCW, Volkswagen and Baker McKenzie

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