Women, men will solve gender-related issues together: Hürriyet board member
Women and men will stand shoulder to shoulder to tackle gender-related issues, Hürriyet board member Vuslat Doğan Sabancı said in the inauguration ceremony of the “Power of Women” conference, held by Hürriyet in Istanbul on March 5.
Doğan Sabancı underlined the problems that persist despite considerable efforts to tackle gender-related issues over the years. She also said societal awareness was on the rise.
“I have talked to many women and men involved in gender-related issues, and I realized it was not enough to empower women, blame everything on men and set harsher penalties for men. If these problems are solved, they will be solved by men and women working together,” she said.
Vuslat Doğan Sabancı also said the “power of women” concept had two basic meanings. “The first meaning is women realizing and taking action with their own power. The second meaning is equality of opportunity and removing barriers to women’s participation in the economy, politics and sociocultural sphere,” she said.
We need feminine power
Vuslat Doğan Sabancı said anger does not solve anything and it was wrong to associate the concept of power with “male power.”
“Indeed, feminine power has solved many problems throughout history. We need to benefit from feminine power and find a balance by listening to each other and tolerating differences,” Doğan Sabancı said.
Vuslat Doğan Sabancı also touched upon daily Hürriyet’s activities to raise awareness about violence against women and gender-based discrimination.
“We have established a hotline for violence against women, which even Europe-resident Turkish speakers have used. Once a young man came to the Hürriyet building in Istanbul, saying he was being forced to kill his sister, but he did not want to do so and asked for help,” she said.
“We started by looking at our own works first. We discussed the tone and language we use and the importance of media language in raising awareness about this issue. We talked to our employees to make it a human resources policy. Today, many companies are taking similar steps, which is promising” she added.
Economic independence is crucial
She also said nearly 70 percent of women define themselves as “housewives” and that they should be empowered and gain their economic independence.
“We have long been working to empower these women. I have dedicated myself to a microloan practice, supported by my mother Sema Doğan. I have been hearing inspiring stories of women who have taken advantage of this practice,” she said.
Nazan Kurtan, the founder of Yeşil Vadi Organic Farm in Turkey, said her father had told her girls not to go to university and her mother said their financial situation excluded the possibility of further education.
“I got married when I was 15, but I wanted to do something. I attended courses on organic farming. Currently, I have 20 women workers and we do organic farming. Thanks to the microloan provided with the help of Vuslat Doğan Sabancı, I made up the shortages,” Kurtan said.
Clinical psychologist Emre Konuk also stressed the importance of women’s participation in the business world, saying that it strengthened families.
The conference was attended by various speakers and moderators across different sectors, including Doğan Holding Chairwoman Begümhan Doğan Faralyalı, Aydın Doğan Foundation’s Executive Council Chairwoman Candan Fetvacı, Hürriyet Editor-in-chief Fikret Bila, Konda General Manager Bekir Ağırdır, and Hürriyet journalists Ertuğrul Özkök, Ayşe Arman and Elif Ergu.
Konda General Manager Bekir Ağırdır said: “We all need women’s minds and hearts in our lives.”
“This is a problematic era for the whole world but the leadership of women will help us to get over it,” Ağırdır said.
Meanwhile, SIA Insight General Manager Hüseyin Tapınç also shared the results of a survey carried out about young women.
Tapınç said one of the main problems was to internalize and normalize violence against women.
“According to our survey, six percent of women have internalized the violence,” he said.
The conference, which was held by Hürriyet for the second time this year, aims to provide a platform for the voices and inspiring stories of women across society, strengthen cooperation with multiple stakeholders, allow discussion on common problems and raise awareness of gender equality.