Women of Europe Awards 2020

The fifth edition of the Women of Europe Awards was held online due to health restrictions on Wednesday 2 December 2020. The event was live-streamed on the European Movement’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

The full livestream is available below:

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



The Awards were handed out in four different categories:

Woman in Power | showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe

Woman in Action | undertaking extraordinary actions at the grassroots level in Europe

Woman in Business | advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit

Young Woman of Europe | for young women (age 15 to 30) actively strengthening the voice of young women in Europe


Woman in Power

Terry Reintke MEP

Member of European Parliament, Greens/EFA

Khamshajiny (Kamzy) Gunaratnam

Norwegian MP, former Deputy Mayor of Oslo

Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya

Belarusian Opposition Leader & Human Rights Activist

According to the jury, representing extraordinary women in their own right 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.

“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.”

Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya

Woman in Action

European Federation of Nurses


Maryan Abdulkarim

Writer & Artist

Malda Avramenko

Mediator & Activist for Roma Families and Children in Ventspils

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!

“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.”

Elizabeth Adams, on behalf of the European Federation of Nurses Associations

Woman in Business

Alice Bentinck

Co-founder of Entrepreneur First and Code First Girls

Team Memory Haven

Developers of Memory Haven app

Sara Nuru

Co-Founder of nuruCoffee and nuruWomen e.V.

According to the jury, Sara 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.

Young Woman of Europe

Maria Atanasova

Volunteer & Advocate for Integration of Roma Youth

Iryna Yarmolenko

Founder of the NGO “Center for Social Communication”

Ynaée Benaben

Co-Founder of En avant toute(s)

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.

“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.”

Mariya Atanasova


This year’s distinguished jury consisted of female leaders from all walks of life across Europe, including

  • Eleonora Azzaoui & Vera Günther, Founders, Mimycri and Women in Business 2019 award winners
  • Katalin Cseh MEP, Vice-Chair, Renew Europe Group
  • Gals4Gals Lodz, Polish feminist collective and shortlisted nominee for Women in Action 2019 award
  • Laura Codruța Kövesi, European Public Prosecutor's Office, European Chief Prosecutor
  • Pauline Mukanza, Member, Executive Committee, European Women's Lobby
  • Johanna Nejedlová, Co-founder of KONSENT and Woman in Youth Activism 2019 award winner
  • Orla O'Connor, Director, National Women's Council of Ireland
  • Aura Salla, Board Member, European Movement International and Public Policy Director, Head of EU Affairs, Facebook
  • Gardenia Trezzini, Brussels Bureau Chief, Euronews