EWL News

The Women of Europe Awards: the WINNERS

[Brussels 4 December 2017] Last Wednesday, the European Women’s Lobby collaborated with European Movement International to host the second Women of Europe Awards. These awards were organised by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby, building upon the national awards of several National Councils of the European Movement. They are handed out annually to honour those who have been exceptional in their work for women, whether in a professional or private capacity. This is an important event to highlight work that is often overlooked, as is stated in the official awards description:

“The role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognised. The awards highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and to increase their presence and involvement in debates about Europe and its future.”

We believe that these awards are particularly apt as research has shown that gender equality in Europe has stagnated and even gone backwards in some areas. Recently, data from the European Institute for Gender Equality 2017 Index (GEI) showed that women are still very much treated as second-class citizens in Europe. It is therefore imperative that we acknowledge these women, whilst also encouraging this work to continue – it is now the time for a reinvigorated political impetus to put women’s rights and gender equality at the centre of the EU project. It is time for urgent action: on European and member state level. The Women of Europe Awards are a perfect opportunity to bring women’s voices into the heart of the political discussion about the future of Europe.

The evening began with a warm welcome from EWL’s Secretary General, Joanna Maycock, and Petros Fassoulas from European Movement International. We also heard some inspiring words from Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the Chair of the Judging Panel, who highlighted the importance of the presence of women at every level: “If you don’t see or find women, then get better glasses!”

EWL President, Edith Schratzberger-Vecsei, along with the Vice President of European Movement International, Eva Maydell MEP, presented the award Woman in Action to Adriana Lettrari. Edith spoke about the progress women are making in creating a feminist Europe, stating; “Women are at the forefront of fighting for a better Europe, a Europe of equal rights.”

We were delighted to see Mina Jaf winning the award for Woman in Youth Activism. Mina is a young feminist activist who works tirelessly on refugee issues and on women’s rights issues, bringing her personal experience and perspective to her vocal advocacy. The Vice President of EWL member, European Network of Migrant Women, Mina has been highly successful in influencing decision-makers through giving visibility to the reality and the needs of women and girl refugees.

Other successes of the night included Melody Hossaini from InspirEngage International, who won Woman in Business, as well as the winner of Woman in Power, Federica Mogherini, who is the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the EU Commission.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this special celebration and congratulations once again to all of these inspiring women.

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