Turkey’s first lady calls for workforce gender equality
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish first lady Emine Erdoğan has said the most important step to be taken to increase female employment and entrepreneurship was to end the exploitation of female labor, adding that societies only rise through equality.
“The elimination of barriers such as wage differential and the glass ceiling are requirements for equality. We have to secure societal gender equality in all aspects. Societies rise only with equality,” Erdoğan said in remarks made during her speech at the closing ceremony of the “Mobil Solutions Address: Women” project in Istanbul on May 30.
The project, backed by the first lady, aims to increase female employment, especially in mobile technologies.
Noting that the participation of women in economic life would speed up development and allow for balanced economic growth, the first lady called for support of not only female employment but also women entrepreneurship.
“The most concrete indicator of women’s integration into economic life is an increase in women employment. In this regard, although we are not at a level we want, in recent years we have taken crucial steps. In the last ten years, while the employment rate among men has increased 21 percent, among women this rate has increased 52 percent. This, of course, brought a partial balance in economic and social aspects,” said Erdoğan, adding that the number of women executives in Turkey, which was 114,000 in 2003, has increased to 208,000 in 2016.
Highlighting that women’s problem solving capacity has increased greatly and that they would bring a plus to the business world with their observation skills and powerful intuitions, Erdoğan said societal awareness was needed.
“Entrepreneurship must be supported, as employment initiatives must be increased. We should expand the notion of women-men opportunity equality in society,” said the first lady.
The project, organized by the Istanbul Development Agency, Istanbul Commerce University, Teknopark Istanbul and the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), brought together 141 female university graduates who completed their 220-hour training program on mobile technologies as well as on mobile design this year. While 41 participants took full-time courses, the others took online training.
Program participants created 18 projects, three of which were awarded by Erdoğan. The winning projects’ owners will use an office at Teknopark Istanbul and have access to all its facilities.
The three projects include a location sharing online application for people experiencing violence or abuse, a reminder of medical treatments for seniors and another application to find registered cleaning ladies for white-collar working women.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the gender gap in Turkey’s employment rates remains large.
“Only one in every four women in Turkey is in the labor force and employed,” the organization said, as the female employment rate for 2014 was 26.7 percent.