European International Women’s Leadership Award 2021

[RO] Discursul pe care l-am susținut astăzi în urma acordării, la Bruxelles, a ”Premiului European pentru Leadership Feminim Internațional 2021” unor femei excepționale.

[EN] The speech I held today after handing out, in Brussels, the ”European International Women’s Leadership Award 2021” to a number of outstanding women from around the World:

Let me start by saying how honoured I am to be here today, surrounded by so many inspiring and talented women from around the World, each of you with your own success story and with your own leadership style.

Let’s face it: being a woman today can be a challenge. Things have changed for the better, but not enough has been done.

A recent Report of the United Nations for 2020 highlights that the pandemic has worsened the situation for many women. Unfortunately, violence against women and girls remains a global issue.

In terms of politics and decision-making, women hold only approximately 28% of power positions globally – almost the same proportion as in 1995. Yes, it is shocking: 26 years (from 1995 until today) with almost no progress in this respect!

Moreover, what is happening in Afghanistan these days shows us yet again that no progress in terms of women’s rights can be taken for granted. We must always remain vigilant and understand that all efforts, regardless how small, are important.

I remember that when I became European Commissioner for Regional Policy, quite a number of newspapers wrote about me that before taking up my mandate I fought for promoting women’s rights. And although this only reflected part of my activity as a Member of the European Parliament, I was very proud that my work was labelled like that. Because I knew that my efforts meant more chances for young girls and for women in general. I knew that I was doing my fair share to change things for the better.

Today we celebrate you for how far you have taken your efforts in making a positive change. I heard your stories and they are all truly impressive.

By celebrating you, today we actually send out a message: that we are one step closer to normality. We are one step closer to a World in which there is respect for human rights, respect for women and girls, good treatment of those who are more vulnerable.

You are an example for all girls and women who hope to live in such a World. And I am confident many of them will follow your example.

The awards that I have handed you today are a sign of respect not only from myself and the organisers, but of all those who believe that there should be no limits in what one can achieve based on whether one is a man or a woman

Congratulations from all my heart!

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