Private Sector to unite Forces for Equality

22 November 2017

22 November 2017, İstanbul – The project of ‘’For my Country’’ is a project initiated by Koç Holding to promote and mainstream the idea of social responsibility among the affiliated companies, employees, dealers and suppliers of the Holding. As part of this project, some NOGs, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and companies from private sector met in İstanbul in a meeting held under the name of ‘’Meeting for Equality’’. Sharing their field observations and experiences in the field of best practices respecting Gender Equality, the participants held speeches on the actions that can be taken to ensure a broader representation of women in the business community and guarantee gender equality in salaries and wages as well as in responsibilities. 

Meltem Ağduk, Gender Equality Programme Coordinator from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), praised the activities of private sector regarding gender equality: ‘’I think that such a project undertaken by a private enterprise represents a step of great importance in terms of bringing about a change in mindsets and attitudes regards gender equality in our country. Looking at the projects realized in the last 15 years, we have been observing a private sector that turns from one which only provided financial support into one which now does perform pioneering work in this change. In fact, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) focuses its activities mainly on reproductive and sexual health. However, gender equality has been an integral part in all our programmes. We consider the gender equality and the consequent violence against women as a serious problem that threatens the public health. That is the reason why we intensively focus on the projects addressing this issue.’’  

In her speech Ağduk further said: “Women in working life have to fight against and overcome the serious problem of gender inequality. The inequality of pays among women and men employees is a problem that affects not only our country, but also all the countries in the world. While a male employee earns 1 dollar, say, for his labour, a woman earns 77 cents for the same work. Domestic violence is another source of trouble against which women working as white-collar employees in management positions have to combat. This type of violence is the most prominent factor that impedes women to enter into the labour force.’’  

At the end of her speech Meltem Ağduk noted: Reflecting upon the developments arising from all the efforts made in goodwill in the field of gender equality, we can say that we need a hundred more years to fully eliminate this inequality. One of the most important accelerator that provides a strong push in gender equality progress is the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Women and UN Global Compact.’’ 

In 2015 Koç Holding signed the statement of support for WEPs, Women Empowerment Principles, to establish the guidance provided by the principles in the companies within the Holding, putting the following 7 principles in practice:  

Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination

Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women

Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women

Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy

Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

The Scorecard of Turkey regards Inequality:

Looking at the figures concerning the participation of women in the work force, we observe that the employment rate is primarily influenced by individual level of education, i.e. the higher the educational level, the higher the access of women to employment. Of the work force in Turkey, 55 per cent is provided by women, of which 47 per cent without getting any kind of pay. Under this unpaid work is defined the household chores, an activity where women have to spend four times as much time and effort as men. Statistical data for 2016 indicate that 15.9 per cent of women between 15-64 years of age are unemployed. It is observed that the expectations of unoccupied women with respect to finding a paid job is much lower than those of men. Figures show that women work for a lower pay in the so-called ‘’women’s jobs’’. Nursing, teaching, nutritional counselling, secretaryship are defined as ‘’women’s job’’, jobs like engineering, science and technology are considered to be ‘’men’s job’’.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was established in 1969 and as the biggest aid source with international funding in the area of population operating around the world. UNFPA operates in more than 150 countries for creating policies and strategies that support sustainable development. Having started its activities on a project basis, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been working on reproductive health, encouraging social gender equality, collecting, using and distributing data about development and humanitarian aid in Turkey since 1971. Within this framework, the first Country Program lasted from 1988 to 1992 and now the Sixth Country Program (2016-2020) is being executed.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. To this end, UNFPA focuses especially 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); SDG 3: Good health and well-being, SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality and finally, SDG 17: Partnerships for Goals

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