Women of Europe Awards 2023

In a celebration of women's contribution to society and European integration, Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, was honoured with the Woman in Power Award at the eighth annual Women of Europe Awards ceremony in Brussels. The event, jointly organized by the European Movement International and the European Women's Lobby, recognized outstanding women from various fields striving to advance the European project.

The eighth edition of the Women of Europe Awards took place at the BELvue Museum, Place des Palais 7, 1000 Brussels on Thursday 9 November 2023. The ceremony was held from 18:30 to 21:30 and was followed by a reception.

"We are still 300 years away from gender equality – a woman in power should not be something remarkable. Thankfully, I believe it is changing. I do not think women are better politicians than men, or men better politicians than women, it is simply that we have different life experiences. For balanced decisions we need both genders represented.”

Kaja Kallas


Kallas, an advocate for gender equality and women's rights, received the Woman in Power Award for her work to defend democracy, freedom, and peace in Europe. The esteemed jury, comprised of women from politics, business, civil society, and academia, also acknowledged her significant work in promoting women's and human rights.

"I'm honoured and humbled to receive this amazing award. It provides a moment of personal joy in a world marked by unprecedented & heart-breaking violence and pain."

Shada Islam

Expressing her gratitude, Kallas emphasized the importance of collective efforts in achieving an equal society. "I'm very grateful for the Woman of Europe award, it really means a lot to me. I wish everyone wisdom and resilience. Working together towards an equal society is a long term goal, but let us keep in mind everything that is done or not done for equality changes people's lives and can change history for future generations."

See the full version of Kallas' powerful acceptance speech:

The other recipients of the Women of Europe Awards include Yuliia Paiesvka (Woman in Action), recognized for her unwavering courage and advocacy for Ukrainian democracy and independence; Shada Islam (Woman in Media), honored for her dedication to fostering informed discussions on crucial European issues such as migration, gender equality and EU integration; Emilie Schmitt (Woman in Business), lauded for her innovative advocacy for inclusive opportunities and employment strategies; and Maraharyta Vorykhava (Young Woman of Europe), acknowledged for her outstanding work in promoting youth empowerment and democracy in Belarus.

"I'm very honoured by this award which highlights the continuous engagement of Activ'Action's team, volunteers and partners to change the mentality of unemployment! This award rewards the power of intuition, conviction, strength and perseverance necessary to build an impact-driven business."

Emilie Schmitt

Eva Maydell MEP, President of the European Movement International, emphasized the importance of amplifying women's voices: "Women are not equal until all women everywhere are equal. We must ensure women's voices are heard, respected, and acted upon, especially in these challenging times."

Iliana Balabanova, President of the European Women’s Lobby, expressed hope for a positive future: "The influential voices of the Women of Europe Awards give us hope that we are heading in the right direction."

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of EuropaNostra, praised the awardees as beacons of civic engagement for a better future: "In the diverse mosaic of Europe's leadership and activism, these women shine as examples of civic engagement for a better and just future."

Sabine Radl, Secretary General of European Movement Austria, was inspired by the awards, saying: "Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a key driver for progress. The Women of Europe Awards recognises remarkable women who are making a difference in a wide range of sectors. Each one of them embodies the values and potential for a more inclusive and fairer Europe."

“This award is not merely a recognition; it's a recognition of the immense potential and power that youth bring to the table. We understand that protecting democracy is an ongoing struggle that demands vigilance, determination, and the courage to stand up against injustices. It is we, the young leaders of Europe, who have taken it upon ourselves to safeguard the democratic ideals that our continent was built upon.”

Maraharyta Vorykhava


The Awards are handed out in five 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

This year, we are unveiling a new category: Woman in Media | outstanding women in media who possess a powerful voice, actively bringing attention to European issues