No women no UN Security Council membership

No women no UN Security Council membership

If there will ever be a regime change in Iran it will be thanks to women, Jordanian women who spend time in Iran told me. The statement made me recall a recent analysis by U.S. Congressional Research Service on Tunisia. “Despite many political and economic characteristics shared across the region Tunisia exhibits a number of unique attributes: it has a relatively small territory, a sizable highly educated middle class and a long history of encouraging women’s socioeconomic freedoms,” read the analysis.

Tunisia is not only the country that triggered the process of change in the Middle East but it is also setting an example inspiring hope that not all regime change will mean the replacement of the so-called secular autocracies with radical Islamists. I found it interesting that one of the attributes that differentiates Tunisia from others is the situation of the women in that country.

It might not be wrong to say that from Morocco to Afghanistan the socioeconomic position of the women will play a key role in the momentum of change. For women are not only composing half of society, but as mothers that are raising children, including their sons, they also have tremendous effect on the other half of the society.

There is a lot of talk about Turkey providing a model, example, or inspiration for the countries of the Arab Awakening. The Islamic roots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have not stopped it from adapting to globalism that has landed Turkey in the G-20 club with a well deserved status of a regional power.

Yet when the countries with Muslim populations, where the situation of women will be a factor determining the future, will be looking to Turkey they will see that the same Islamic credentials have been stopping the AKP from entering Turkey in the first league of nations when it comes to women issues.

Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world yet the female participation in the labor force has been declining during AKP rule. What is more alarming is the silence at the top of the state concerning violence against women. Domestic violence that ends with the death of women continues to take its toll everyday and the silence of the president and the prime minister as well as that of the “first ladies” saddens me tremendously. This is still a society that looks on its leaders to follow suit. Sadly you don’t hear a single word from them about the murder of women.

Turkey will soon start its campaign to bid for United Nations Security Council membership for the period of 2015-16. According to the action prepared by the government, the relevant public institutions are asked to take the steps to increase Turkey’s profile higher on issues such as health, women and children’s rights, refugees, etc.

 Soon envoys will be dispatched to lobby governments. I am advising Turkey’s interlocutors to inquire what Turkey is doing to improve women’s rights. After all, a Security Council member is supposed to represent the whole international community, not only the masculine half. If a government is remaining inactive to the problems of half of its own people, how can we expect it to adequately represent all the interests of all the men and women of the world?