Press Releases PRESS RELEASE: Tikhanovskaya, leader of Belarusian opposition, wins Woman of Europe Award

PRESS RELEASE: Tikhanovskaya, leader of Belarusian opposition, wins Woman of Europe Award

Brussels, 02.12.20: In the ceremony held this evening, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya was awarded the Woman of Europe Award in the Woman in Power category. The award 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.

Gardenia Trezzini, Euronews’ Brussels bureau chief and member of the Jury said: “Euronews brings viewers, in 12 languages and in over 160 countries, unrivalled news coverage of what is really going on in Brussels and across the continent. In a year of pain and distress, our coverage has shown how the pandemic has been particularly harmful to women, from front-line workers to victims of domestic violence. However, it has also reminded us of the unwavering determination and bravery they are able to display. The Women of Europe awards are an opportunity to recognise their excellence and willpower. We are proud to be partnering again on this event and to share with our viewers the stories of these inspiring women.

The Women of Europe Awards 2020 were awarded in more categories:

Winning the 2020 Woman in Action Award: European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) represented by their President, Elizabeth Adams.

According to the jury, the European Federation of Nurses Associations, representing and supporting 3 million+ nurses across Europe, won the Woman in Action award for their extraordinary service on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to protect us all. Their perseverance is what has kept Europe going. This award is for all nurses across Europe – thank you!

Upon receiving the Woman in Action Award, Elizabeth Adams, on behalf of the European Federation of Nurses Associations, said, “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, frontline nurses have been instrumental in protecting health and saving lives, with significant risk to their own lives and that of their families. It is with pride that Europeans across the continent have seen and understood the invaluable contribution of nursing. The 2020 Women of Europe Award acknowledges this selfless commitment, exceptional skills and their hard work.

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

According to the jury, Nuru won the Woman in Business award for empowering women and promoting female entrepreneurs, and for using her sustainable business and not-for-profit association in Germany to build a bridge through Europe and Africa – through shared values of gender equality and fair business models. Her accomplishments, built on collaboration and compassion, are an example to us all.

Upon receiving the Woman in Business Award, Sara Nuru said, “The biggest challenge for women is to stand up for their own convictions without fear of loss. Thank you very much for this award and the recognition. I share this award with my sister and business partner, because without her i would not have been able to start the business at all. Thank you for offering her women a platform and thus showing that there are many great women who make a difference..

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

According to the jury, Atanasova won the Woman in Youth Activism award for her tireless work fighting for more visibility of the Roma community and for more participation of the Romani youth in society and politics. Her volunteering and mentorship continues to greatly contribute to uplifting one of Bulgaria’s most disadvantaged minorities.

Upon receiving the Woman in Youth Activism Award, Mariya Atanasova said, “The Women of Europe Awards are important because we still need a reminder in society that there are strong women across Europe who are great role models.

About the Women of Europe Awards

The Women of Europe Awards are handed out annually to honour and celebrate women striving to advance the European project in their professional or private capacity. In Europe, the role of women remains largely unrecognised and still needs to be supported, highlighted and increasingly recognised. As such, the awards showcase vital contributions of women and seek to increase women’s presence and involvement in shaping Europe and its future.

Former winners, per category, include:

Woman in Power: Margrethe Vestager (2016), Federica Mogherini (2017), Marianne Thyssen (2018), Laura Codruța Kövesi (2019).

Woman in Action: Adela Ionela Dinu (2016), Adriana Lettrari (2017), Orla O’Connor, Ailbhe Smyth & Grainne Griffin (2018), Milena Kadieva (2019).

Woman in Business: Melody Hossaini (2017), Axelle Lemaire (2018), Eleonora Azzaoui & Vera Günther (2019).

Woman in Youth Activism: Mina Jaf (2017), Sigrid Friis Proschowsky (2018), Johanna Nejedlová (2019).

The European Movement is pleased to be partnering with Euronews, Europe’s leading international news channel, for the 2020 Women of Europe Awards.

Join the conversation! #WomenOfEurope

Press contact

Christian Skrivervik – Head of Press and Communications, European Movement International

For more information about the Women of Europe Awards 2020, please click here.

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