Platform calls for solidarity among women deputies

Platform calls for solidarity among women deputies

One of the issues people have wondered the most about ahead of the June elections is how much the ratio of women deputies in parliament will increase. It is being calculated that the current 14.4 percent ratio of women deputies in parliament will, most probably, increase to around 18 percent. 

The reason for this is that in these elections, even though the number of women candidates has reached a record-breaking number of 510, unfortunately, only 100 of them are in slots that are likely to be elected. 

The head of the Association for Support of Women Candidates (KA.DER), Gönül Karahanoğlu, said it was a “democracy shame” that out of the 81 total provinces, 43 of them do not have any women deputies.

There is another dimension to the matter. Do the deputies representing women in parliament struggle enough for the “women issue,” maybe the most crucial one in Turkey?

What will those women who are sent to parliament for the first time, for instance, do to stop the “murders of women?” 

The Rightful Women Platform, which was founded in 2011 with the leadership of daily Hürriyet, has gathered 41 women organizations under its umbrella. 

I met with women deputy candidates on May 22 in Istanbul after the platform’s “One Voice for Women” call.

The founder of the Rightful Women Platform, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, head of Hürriyet’s Executive Board, delivered the keynote speech, saying that in an environment as merciless as politics, advancement can only be possible with the cohesion of all women deputies, regardless of their political parties, at a common denominator.  

It was expected that four political parties would participate in the Rightful Women Platform.

However, there was no participation from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Women deputy candidates from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) took the stage. 

It should not be forgotten that the HDP’s practice of co-chairs in party organs and local governments is an exemplary model for gender equality.

Before women candidates running for office took the stage, we watched women’s stories performed by theater actors, stories we all know only too well. The stories were compiled from the “hotline” Hürriyet launched; actually true stories. 

Such as small girls who did not go to school so they can work in the fields, or those who were sold for four cows and 10 sheep in exchange of marrying a man the same age as their fathers, those who were harassed at the workplace, those who were threatened by their husbands or brothers, young women whose rights to live were snatched from them…

The participating nine women candidates were of course aware of these issues. Some of them suggested penalties in violence against women cases should not be eased.

Some of them pledged a 50 percent women quota in public enterprises and companies. Or equal pay for equal jobs. 

There is no point in saying which party’s candidate pledged what. 

As former KA.DER head Çiğdem Aydın said, the women issue is an issue above parties. It is able to proceed only with solidarity among women deputies who represent us in parliament.