Turkey's first lady meets businesswomen to support girls’ education
Elif Ergu – ISTANBULTurkish first lady Emine Erdoğan and the country’s leading businesswomen gathered for an iftar meal in Istanbul to mark a range of initiatives which contributed to raising the rate of girls in school to 95 percent across Anatolia.
“The school rate of girls in primary and secondary schools was 87 percent in 2002, this figure rose to 95 percent in 2015 with efficient studies that were run with support from civil society organizations,” Erdoğan said during her address at the event hosted by the Nil Education and Aid Association (NEYAD) at the Haliç Congress Center on June 24.
The event was joined by a large number of invitees, including prominent Turkish businesswomen and NEYAD representatives.
Persons who led successful initiatives to promote girls’ education were also recognized and presented with a plaque, including daily Hürriyet Chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı.
The Aydın Doğan Foundation has been carrying out the “Dad, Send me to School” (BBOG) project, which aims to create equal education opportunities for young girls across Turkey, since 2005.
The project, which was initiated by the Doğan Group in 2005 and undertaken by the Aydın Doğan Foundation in 2015, was recognized as the most successful project in the eyes of the Turkish public, according to the traditional “Corporate Social Responsibility Project Research” by German GfK research institute and Capital business magazine.
Doğan Holding constructed a total 33 dormitories and 12 primary schools as part of the project while providing scholarships to a total of 10,500 girls over the past decade. Meanwhile, the Aydın Doğan Foundation also built five dormitories for girls.
In its 10th year, the BBOG project has received donations from over 300,000 individuals totaling 35 million Turkish Liras.
In her speech, Erdoğan praised Turkish businesswomen for their support for education projects which contribute to the “pleasing” level of access to education for girls in Turkey.
“300,000 girls started school with the ‘Haydi Kızlar Okula’ [Let’s Go to School, Girls] campaign, which is run under the auspices of [the state.] With the ‘Ana-Kız Okuldayız’ [Mother-Daughter to School] campaign, not only girls but our women who never went to school or received education went to school with their children [and] received education,” Erdoğan said, adding the schooling rate for women at higher education increased to 40 percent from 12 percent between 2002 and 2015.
“Today, the rate of women academics at our universities is above 40 percent. This is considerably above the world average,” the first lady added.
Underlining the need for qualified people in a world where “injustices and terror run rampant,” Erdoğan said women and men need to work together for a better world.
“Women and men complete each other. We better understand and interpret the world with the unity of both viewpoints,” she added.