Men say ‘we stand by you’ to women struggling for equality
I have been writing about gender equality for many years.
I believe I am the first journalist to talk about the World Economic Forum’s gender gap reports that has been publishing for the past 12 years.
I have been following the works of academics and non-governmental organizations defending gender equality as well as women studies research centers of universities.
I have followed and written about their research.
For years I have always been of the view that women can only register progress in their equality struggle by getting men on their side.
That’s why the press conference of the “Yanındayız” Association on Sept. 25 was for me a dream come true. (Yanındayız can roughly be translated as we stand by you, we are on your side, or we side with you.)
As women who have fought for gender equality, we had succeeded in drawing men to our side. A first in Turkey, men have finally decided to roll up their sleeves for gender equality.
One woman and 40 men
The idea came from businesswoman Nur Ger, who spearheaded the issue of gender equality both at work and in non-governmental institutions she is a member of, such as the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).
She was elected unanimously to head the association founded by men.
Ger was on the podium during the press conference together with some of the founding professionals Dr. Alper Hasanoğlu, Necati Özkan, Sami Kariyo, and Murat Yeşildere, as well as journalists Murat Yetkin and Ferhat Boratav.
“Yanındayız Association is the first civil society organization that is mainly made up of men who hit the road in defense of gender equality,” said Ger. “The target audience is men. The fundamental aim is to lead the change in the mentality and behavior of men,” she added.
When asked why there is the need for such organizations, Ger said: “Because it is impossible to solve the problem without men, who created the issue of gender inequality. The main decision-makers in the family, economy and the society are overwhelmingly men. That’s why we think the change should start from men.”
The manifesto of men who believe in equality
I would like to refer to the statements in the video of the founding members:
“The key to transformation in the society is the women’s issue.
Until all kinds of violence in the family, business and outside ends,
until gender equality is achieved in education,
until there’s change in the traditional roles attributed to women,
in order for women to live their lives freely,
in order to fight all kinds of obstacles based on gender discrimination,
in order to secure gender equality in hiring and promotion in workplaces,
to end gender discrimination in our language,
to enable their equal representation in politics,
to share household responsibilities,
to enable them to assume an active and efficient role in all aspects of the economy,
we STAND BY women in their fight for gender equality.”
You can look at it as the manifesto of men who believe in gender equality.
As it was said by Alperoğlu, this is the manifesto of men who think household work has to be shouldered equally rather than helping women’s work at home.