BinYaprak empowering women
Throughout history, in every country, women have earned their equal place beside men through great struggles. As a man, I am ashamed women have had to fight to prove they can contribute to society as much as men. How men think women are inferior is beyond me. However, unfortunately, total equality is still a distant dream. The unseen, glass ceiling women are faced with daily in their professional lives is still very intact.
No one ever thinks about asking men in a job interview whether they are thinking of getting married or not or whether they are thinking of having a baby. But asking this to women is still considered a logical question in many companies. Women still learn a lot less than men while doing the same job. Women still face great difficulties when they want to return to work after having a child. The list goes on indefinitely.
According to the World Economic Forum, economic facts speak for themselves: Raising women’s labor force participation to that of men can boost GDP, for example, by as much as 9 percent in Japan and 27 percent in India. Research by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has uncovered a myriad of other macroeconomic benefits: Reducing gender gaps in employment, as well as in education, can help economies diversify their exports; appointing more women onto banking supervision boards can challenge cozy group-think, thereby supporting greater bank stability and financial sector resilience; and tackling gender inequality can reduce income inequality, which, in turn, can drive more sustainable growth.
In other words, across several dimensions, we must realize the potential of women is “macrocritical.” Delivering on this may sound like a tall order, but it simply means making the most of everyone’s talents. This is a challenge for any country; a task from which every country would benefit. It is a universal mission.
It is not only the absolute right of women to be able to work in the same conditions as men, having equal pay, it is also a necessity for societies to grow and prosper. Equality of women means prosperity for all.
So, the question is, what can we do to ensure equality for women in Turkey?
We must lobby at the government level for new legislations. However, there is a lot we can do as a society without waiting for government action.
Melek Pulatkonak, who was the founding member of TurkishWIN, (Turkish Women’s International Network), is establishing a digital network called BinYaprak (meaning a thousand leaves).
Private endeavors like BinYaprak and government-scale lobbying must go hand in hand for Turkey to enjoy the benefits of empowered women.