A Czech woman beat out Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg at the Women of Europe Awards hosted in Brussels at the BELvue Museum.
The Czech woman, Johanna Nejedlová, the founder of an association dealing with the prevention of sexual violence, took home an award in one of four categories.
The four award categories were “Woman in Action” for undertaking extraordinary actions at the grassroots level in Europe, “Woman in Power” for showing extraordinary political leadership in Europe, “Woman in Business” for advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit, and “Woman in Youth Activism” for women aged 15 to 30 strengthening the voice of young women in Europe.
Nejedlová won in the last category, and thus defeated the other nominees, which included Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Irish Student Union member Síona Cahill.
“It is essential to eliminate violence against women. We cannot expect women to flourish as long as their safety remains at risk. We must focus on creating a safer environment for women, but we do not have enough tools to do so,” said Nejedlová.
“The jury chose me out of all these wonderful women as the Woman of Europe in Youth Activism. It’s a strange feeling. During my speech, I mentioned that prizes are great, but that awards do not pay for renting an office and that if there is something crucial that can be done to support ‘women in youth activism’, it is to provide sufficient funding,” wrote Nejedlová on her Facebook account.
Nejedlová is a co-founder of the non-profit association Konsent, which is engaged in the prevention of sexual violence. The association organizes workshops, educational events, and training on the issue of rape and sexual harassment.
One of the educational events is a campaign on social networks called “Respect is sexy”.
The campaign focuses on harassment in clubs and bars, Nejedlová helps to train bartenders to know how to react when guests ask for help. Furthermore, she instructs bartenders and security guards on how to recognize when a situation is unpleasant for some of guests, such as in the case of sexual harassment.
“But we don’t want to become flirting police, i.e., to judge if people get to know each other accordingly,” said Nejedlová, adding that the goal is not to discourage men in clubs from inviting women for a drink.