Italian organisation "Women's Toponymy" is the winner of the 2019 EESC Civil Society Prize on gender equality
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) awarded prizes to five civil society organisations who stand up for equal opportunities for women and men, raise awareness about women's potential and achievements, and contribute to their empowerment in Europe's society and economy.
The prize of EUR 50 000 was shared among five winning projects. The Italian organisation "Women's Toponymy" walked away with the first prize of EUR 14 000. The other four runners-up each received EUR 9 000 and ranked in the following order: the Polish Women's Strike, the Bulgarian Association NAIA with its Fairy Tales project, the Finnish Software and eBusiness Association and its Women Code programme, and The Brussels Binder from Belgium.
This year's winner, Women's Toponymy (Associazione Toponomastica femminile) wants to give women public recognition that is often lacking or long overdue, by raising awareness about their contribution to society and history. Believing that toponymy – the study of place names – is a good indicator of the way a society values its members, the organisation is trying to put more notable women on city and town maps.
This year's theme, "More Women in Europe's society and economy", attracted 177 candidates, which is the second highest number of entries in the 11-year history of the prize, just behind the 2016 theme of migration. The entries came from no fewer than 27 Member States, demonstrating the widespread interest of citizens and civil society organisations in taking action to tackle gender inequalities, which still loom large in Europe.
The Civil Society Prize is awarded for "excellence in civil society initiatives". Each year, the prize covers a different aspect of the EESC's work. The theme of the Prize in 2018 was European values, identities and cultural heritage as a way of bringing Europeans together.
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