Koç for gender equality and inventions

Koç for gender equality and inventions

Koç Holding was the only company from Turkey on the Fortune Global 500 list when it entered the list in 419th place in 2016. I had the opportunity to participate in two meaningful events put on by the company in rapid succession.

Both of these events concerned two topics that Turkey has to focus on the most: one is patents, the other is gender equality. 

Even though Turkey has gone a long way in recent years in the patent field, the list of those companies who have applied for the largest number of patents issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is quite meaningful. 

In the WIPO list, Arçelik from Koç Holding is in 74th place with 270 patent applications out of more than 2,000 companies. On the same list, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), is only in 1,937th place. 

We can say the private sector is far ahead of the state in patents, both in terms of providing opportunities and in terms of human resources. 

White goods producer Arçelik, which knows the value of human resources in inventions, has been organizing an “Invention Day” for 19 years to reward young inventors. I was able to participate in the occasion recently in which Arçelik rewarded 508 young inventors who have produced innovations in our daily lives. 

Koç Holding has also registered notable achievements on gender equality. Before explaining what these are, I have to state that Koç was a pioneer in Turkey when the United Nations launched the “He For She” campaign three years ago. 

As a signatory of the He For She campaign, Koç Holding has been holding seminars since 2015 within the framework of “I support gender equality.” They have reached 81,000 people so far. 

“Gender equality” is one of Turkey’s most important issues. Turkey was 130th out of 144 countries in the most recent Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum.

Koç Holding is “to the point” in a country in which 20 million in 27 million women do not work, in which one in three women is subject to violence, in which 5.6 women do not know or scarcely know how to read and write and in which women cannot find positions in decision-making mechanisms. 

Koç Holding Foreign Relations and Corporate Communication Director Oya Ünlü Kızıl and I were at a gender equality seminar in Çanakkale the other day. In her opening speech of the seminar where dealers participated with their wives, she said gender equality was a human rights issue before anything else. 

 “We are aware that as the Koç group, our support for gender equality will open doors for a stronger Turkey in all senses,” Kızıl also said.

The group first started its work among its own staff. As a matter of fact, the top management in Koç group are now competing with each other to secure places for women in many branches that are traditionally known as “men’s work.” 

On production lines, in engineering and even in delivering gas bottles, women are employed. Let us remind ourselves that this group has 97,000 personnel and almost 8,000 dealers all around the country. For them to embrace this significant issue will undoubtedly increase awareness. Its contributions will make Turkey climb to the higher places one day in the Global Gender Gap list.