Thanks to the strong women in Turkey's economy...

Thanks to the strong women in Turkey's economy...

The situation of women in Turkey as revealed in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report issued every year is grave. In the 2014 report, Turkey was in 125th place among 142 countries.

Women in Turkey cannot be seen in business life and in politics; they are also behind in education compared to men. There is another aspect that is not in the report: Violence against women.

Sabancı University issued a report the other day, titled “Business Against Domestic Violence.” One of its findings was that 75 percent of college graduates, white collar female workers, have at least once in their lives been subject to one instance of violence.

Sabancı University conducted for the first time in Turkey this domestic violence survey in the business world. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Sabancı University is Güler Sabancı, the head of Sabancı Holding. The Sabancı Foundation, which is also headed by Güler Sabancı, has been conducting projects in various cities in Anatolia empowering women.

Another member of the Sabancı family, the head of Akbank, Suzan Sabancı, is trying to increase the number of women on Sabancı executive boards. Suzan Sabancı has taken over the position of the head of the Advisory Board of the inter-company mentoring program regarding women on executive boards.

According to Suzan Sabancı, one of the issues that Turkey should focus on in 2015 is increasing the number of women in executive boards. In Spencer Stuart’s “Turkey Board Index,” the rate of women in executive committees in Turkey is only 9 percent.

While the European Union is planning to introduce a quota in its member countries, Muslim-majority Malaysia has already introduced a 30 percent quota for new appointments to executive boards in the country.

It is noteworthy that Suzan Sabancı has undertaken the leadership here from the perspective of public awareness.

Strong women in the economy are known to be courageous in taking risks and launching initiatives. The head of Hürriyet’s Executive Committee, Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, started the “No to Domestic Violence” campaign in Hürriyet 10 years ago. This campaign has a wide spectrum of activities, from a hotline to training; it helps the theme of domestic violence remain high on the agenda.

Ümit Boyner, the former chair of TÜSİAD and a member of the executive board of Boyner Holding, has a project called "Nar Taneleri" (Pomegranate Seeds). The project tries to help young Turkish women raised in orphanages to start their own businesses, and has been awarded by the United Nations.

The general manager of Citibank, Serra Akçaoğlu, meanwhile, is organizing a "Micro-entrepreneur Competition." She is encouraging low-income women in every province of Turkey to join the entrepreneurship venture with minimal capital.

This list could go on.

What I am saying is that one day, if we achieve a better score in the Global Gender Gap report of the World Economic Forum, this will be thanks to the strong women in our economy.