Facebook lending support to women entrepreneurs in Turkey

Facebook lending support to women entrepreneurs in Turkey

Derya Matraş, has been the Turkey director of Facebook, running the Turkey office from London for the past two years. Some 44 million Turks use Facebook on a monthly basis.

Facebook now has a whopping two billion monthly users worldwide. Its global income increased 47 percent in the third quarter of 2017 from the same period the previous year.

One of the reasons for the company’s snowballing success is the life philosophy of its 33-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg, currently on parental leave following the birth of his second daughter.

“I’m going to take advantage of Facebook’s option to take leave in parts. At Facebook, we offer four months of maternity and paternity leave because studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, it’s good for the entire family,” Zuckerberg said recently.

In line with this philosophy, Facebook has started to act in Turkey in support of women entrepreneurs.

I recently had a chance to speak to Matraş on the subject.

“We have brought the ‘SheMeansBusiness’ project to Turkey in order to support women entrepreneurs,” Matraş told me.

“SheMeansBusiness” is Facebook’s global project, which it started nearly two years ago in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

In Turkey, the project has been put into practice in cooperation with the women entrepreneurs board of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), which is headed by Evrim Aras.

Matraş said the project has two main legs. The first will be in the field: Educating women in major cities like Ankara, Antalya, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Istanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Konya and Trabzon. In this leg, women will be given education and training in marketing techniques, as well as the best ways to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram (which has 31 million users in Turkey) to develop their business.

The second leg will feature success stories and role models. “We hope that the stories of women entrepreneurs that we will share on the project’s website, prepared in Turkish, will inspire new success stories,” said Matraş.

Underlining the increasing importance of social media for business, she noted that 70 million small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) globally use Facebook pages. “We recently put into service the Turkish version of the training program ‘Blueprint’ for the SMEs in Turkey to grow and get easier access to global clients,” Matraş said.

‘Purple Certificate Program’

Meanwhile, the Purple Certificate Program, kicked off back in 2007 with the support of the Sabancı Foundation to raise awareness on gender equality among high school teachers in Turkey’s various cities, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The program has so far reached around 3,500 teachers, one third of whom are men, according to Ayşe Gül Altınay, the director of Sabancı University’s Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center (SU Gender).

Altınay noted that while violence against women is on the rise according to official statistics “there is also the reality that awareness is on the rise too.”

“Although male violence has been spreading, gender equality works are also spreading like a wave in deep water. You will see that in 10 years a lot will have changed,” she said.

Gila Benmayor, hdn, Opinion