Women should make up 50 percent of decision-making positions: Turkish Businesswomen’s Association head
Ayşe Arman - ISTANBUL
Turkish Businesswomen’s Association (TİKAD) head Nilüfer Bulut has said women should make up “50 percent of decision-making positions.”
Women’s representation in the political sphere “has always been low,” Bulut told daily Hürriyet on May 23 after political parties announced their lists of parliamentary candidates for the upcoming snap election.
“The percentage of women on the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP’s list is 28 percent, while the number is 23 percent for the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP,” she said, adding that these percentages were “lower than expected.”
TİKAD recently placed a one-page advertisement in all newspapers calling for gender equality in parliament. “Gender has no value in terms of service to the nation. We support male-female equality in parliament,” it stated
“Our intention was to stress that a sexist approach should be abandoned and instead merits should be put forward. There are men with no skill on the lists, who are just there because they are men. Whereas there are many very competent women who cannot find a place on the lists,” Bulut said.
Her comments came after the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) on May 15 declared its new board of directors, which includes only male members. A photograph released by the TOBB of the board showed the starkness of this male domination.
“The photograph that the TOBB issued has disturbed us very much,” Bulut said, describing it as “not suitable for the 21st century.
“In this century, the institutions in which only males dominate should not be accepted. They should be condemned. Of course we are objecting to this situation, but there is also the fact that we, as women, are responsible for this situation. We are not putting in enough effort to get places in executive ranks. We are imprisoning our energy within a few areas,” she added.
“That is why we will continue to see such photographs [as the TOBB board of directors], because men also want women who just make things easier for them and do not enter their areas. This is true not just at home but also outside,” Bulut said.
After receiving her master’s degree in economics from Istanbul University, Bulut started a career in the finance sector. She developed her career as an entrepreneur by founding an advertisement and management consultancy in 1995. Bulut founded TİKAD in 2004 and has been an active participant in forums to empower women.