Education, rights of girls underlined at Istanbul conference
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyThe education and rights of girls were discussed at a conference in Istanbul titled “Empowered Girls, Strong Tomorrows,” participated in by the Aydın Doğan Foundation and representatives from the United Nations.
The conference was held to mark the U.N.’s International Day of the Girl Child, which aims to promote girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
“As the Aydın Doğan Foundation, we will focus on the right of women to be an individual and express themselves. This is a long road to take,” said Hanzade Doğan Boyner, the Aydın Doğan Foundation’s executive board president and founding chairwoman Doğan Online.
“We have a dream: A modern democratic Turkey with the rule of law, balance of powers, living together in peace with all differences and mutual values, opposing all violence. From such a Turkey, there can be more people like Aziz Sancar [Nobel laureate],” Boyner added, speaking at the conference on Oct. 8.
The conference at the Conrad Hotel was also attended by Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, the designated representative of U.N. Women to Turkey and the designated regional director for Europe and Central Asia; Karl Kulessa, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey representative and country director for Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan; and Kamal Malhotra, the U.N. resident coordinator and the UNDP resident representative in Turkey.
Boyner recalled that Turkish Family and Social Policies Ministry’s statistics showed that 26 percent of women in Turkey are married before the age of 18 and half of these women are exposed to domestic violence.
“Across Turkey, 31 percent of women say that their educational life has been hampered at some point.
Fathers ranked first among those who prevent girls’ education. This situation has to change,” she added.
Boyner also recalled the positive effects of the “Father, Send Me to School” campaign, also supported by daily Hürriyet, on girls’ education.
“Among the girls who were part of this campaign, only six percent said they will not go to university. This rate is 38 percent among their peers in the same region,” she added.
“Let all girls be treated as boys are when they are born, raising them with self-esteem,” Boyner said.