Women of Europe

Brussels, 02.12.20: In a ceremony held this evening, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya was awarded the Woman of Europe Award in the Woman in Power category. The awards ceremony, the fifth annual Women of Europe Awards, was organised digitally by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby. Watch the full award ceremony here.

According to the jury, representing extraordinary women 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.” See Tikhanovskaya’s full acceptance speech here.

The winners in each category (see below for quotes from the winners):

Woman in Power Award: Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya – Belarusian Opposition Leader & Human Rights Activist

Woman in Action Award: European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) represented by their President, Elizabeth Adams.

Woman in Business Award: Sara Nuru – Co-Founder of nuruCoffee and nuruWomen e.V.

Woman in Youth Activism Award: Mariya Atanasova – Volunteer & Advocate for Integration of Roma Youth

Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, 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 right defenders in Poland and Belarus. You all deserve our recognition.” 

Today, we honour and recognise some extraordinary women who are at the frontlines of change, whether it be in politics, business, activism or anything in between. These inspiring women defend European values such as democracy, inclusion and diversity – values that the European Movement has promoted and advanced for more than 70 years,” said Eva Maydell MEP, President of the European Movement International. 

The Women of Europe Awards are a great moment to celebrate amazing women across Europe and their fundamental work in shaping our future. 2020 has been a particularly important year showing women’s resilience and strength in difficult times, and we hope these Awards can keep feeding their fierce determination to promote and advance European issues,” said Gwendoline Lefebvre, President of the European Women’s Lobby. 

Rally in Minsk July 30 2020 via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0