The 8th edition of the Women of Europe Awards organised jointly by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby took place in the BELvue Museum on the 9th of November. The event was hosted by the European affairs correspondent and TV Host for Euronews, Méabh Mac Mahon. There were five categories in which exceptional women from all over Europe were nominated and awarded. In an unconventional way, we are going to shift our main focus from the event itself to the shortlisted women, who all deserve recognition.
Woman in Power – showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe
Winner: Kaja Kallas
“A woman in power should not be something remarkable. Thankfully, it’s changing.”
- Kaja Kallas is the first female Prime Minister of Estonia, elected in 2021. She has been a vocal advocate for European values such as democracy, as well as gender equality and LGBT rights, among others. The Hans Ringier Foundation awarded the European Prize for Political Culture to her in 2022. She received the European of the Year title from the European Movement and the Liberal of the Year title from the European Liberal Forum in 2023. POLITICO named her “The Cassandra” Doer No°5 in POLITICO 28: Class of 2023.
- You can watch her full speech here.
- You can follow her on Instagram @kajakallas and X @kajakallas.
Nominee: Olena Zelenska
- Olena Zelenska is the First Lady of Ukraine as the wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since 2019. Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2023.
- You can follow her on Instagram @olenazelenska_official and X @ZelenskaUA.
Nominee: Roberta Metsola
- Roberta Metsola is the youngest ever President of the European Parliament, elected in 2022. She is the third woman to head the institution and the first Maltese person.
- You can follow her on Instagram @roberta.metsola and X @EP_President.
Woman in Action – undertaking extraordinary actions at the grassroots level in Europe
Winner: Yuliia Paievska
- Yuliia Paievska is a Combat Medic, the Founder and Commander of the volunteer ambulance corps Taira’s Angels. She was captured by Russian soldiers in March 2022 while evacuating a group from Mariupol. She was held for three months, then finally released in June 2022. The New York Times called her “a symbol of bravery and sacrifice”.
- You can follow her on X @taira_paievska.
Nominee: Sofija Todorovic
- Sofija Todorovic is the Programme Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia since 2021. She has a long history in human rights and youth activism.
- You can follow her on Instagram @sole_sophisticated and X @sodzinjon.
Nominee: Elly Schlein
- Elly Schlein is the Secretary of the Italian Democratic Party since 2023. openDemocracy called her “the main centre-left rival to far-right prime minister Georgia Meloni”.
- You can follow her on Instagram @ellyesse and X @ellyesse.
Woman in Business – advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit
Winner: Emilie Schmitt
- Emilie Schmitt is the Founder of Activ’Action which aims to transform the often devastating reality of unemployment into an empowering life experience. She created Activ’Action with Fabien Schmitt and Pauline Voldoire to help unemployed people to overcome their negative feelings, uncover their added values and engage in civic action.
- You can follow her on X @em_activaction.
Nominee: Ida Tin
- Ida Tin is the Co-founder of the period-tracking app Clue. She is also credited for coining the term “femtech” to describe the digital women’s health sector.
- You can follow her on X @idatin.
Nominee: Deborah Somorin
- Deborah Somorin is the Founder of housing body Empower The Family which supports young disadvantaged people (18-23) to successfully complete university.
- You can follow her on X @deborah_somorin.
Young Woman of Europe – for young women (age 15 to 30) actively strengthening the voice of young women in Europe
Winner: Marharyta Vorykhava
- Marharyta Vorykhava is the President of the Belarusian National Youth Council Rada since 2020. She has advocated for the rights of young people and has worked to promote youth participation. She was appointed as Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Advisor on Youth Policy and Students in 2023.
- You can follow her on Instagram @margo.vorykhava and X @morgo_ryk.
Nominee: Beatrice Vio
- Beatrice Vio is a Gold Medalist Paralympic Athlete. She won her first gold in the women’s wheelchair fencing foil category B during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and secured the second one during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
- You can follow her on Instagram @bebe_vio and X @VioBebe.
Nominee: Uzoamaka Asiegbu
- Uzoamaka Asiegbu is a Gender and Disability Inclusion Specialist who also used to work as a Programme and Inclusion Analyst for UN Women.
- You can follow her on Instagram @uzoamaka_asiegbu.
Woman in Media – outstanding women in media who possess a powerful voice, actively bringing attention to European issues
Winner: Shada Islam
- Shada Islam is a Specialist on European Union Affairs, including migration, gender equality and inclusion. POLITICO called her “the ultimate insider outsider” in 2017 when listing her as the 18th women driving Europe’s major political debates. She is the Founder and Director of the advisory media company New Horizons Project since 2020.
- You can follow her on Instagram @shadaislam and X @shada_islam.
Nominee: Barbara Bouillon
- Barbara Bouillon is a Commissioning Editor at ARTE GEIE in Strasbourg since 2013, working for the (investigation and geopolitics) documentary slot THEMA.
- You can follow her organisation on X @ARTEen.
Nominee: Eva Hartog
- Eva Hartog is the Russia Correspondent for POLITICO Europe. She worked from Moscow for the past decade until being expelled by the authorities in 2023.
- You can follow her on X @EvaHartog.
After seeing these extraordinary women, we would like to address all the women of Europe and the world by recalling some inspiring thoughts from the event:
“Dare to be real women, not manlike women! Focus on your goals, make plans and make them happen! Europe and the world need more role models like this.”
You can visit the event page here.