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GİLA BENMAYOR >Women will not stop

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The documentary called “You can do it,” prepared by fellow journalist Tuluhan Tekelioğlu, promptly explains the paradox surrounding the problems women face in this country.

Women who are underrepresented, when compared to men, in politics, the workforce and social life have now come out of their shells, and they will not stop.

The documentary supported by Nur Ger, head of the gender equality working group of the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜSİAD), puts the spotlight on nine women who have succeeded in changing their lives and environments.

The documentary was shot in Istanbul, as well as other provinces like Adıyaman, Kars and Mersin. You can see the story of Nazmiye Muratlı, a weightlifter who broke the world record in the 2016 Paralympic Games, or Ümmiye Koçak, a farmer who despite being only a primary school graduate set up a theater group in her village. 

Dr. Gülsüm Kav, the founder of the “We Will Stop Women Murders,” platform and another figure in the documentary, is a name who has enabled to increase awareness of femicides.

In a country where only in 2016, 328 women were murdered, the importance of setting up a platform that brings together the families of victims becomes apparent.   

When you watch the documentary, you see that in a patriarchal society instilled with prejudice against women, the biggest supporters of women taking courageous steps are women themselves, and that women pave the way for other women once they are empowered.
 
For instance, Nuran Özyılmaz, who opened a restaurant in the eastern province of Kars after she sold her golden bracelets to cook dishes with goose meat, encouraged other women in the region for goose breeding. In her restaurant, she only uses products coming from women.

Her “sustainable Kars goose” project is being supported by the United Nations. She has also taught her profession to her daughters.

Birgül Acar and her daughter, Nilgün Toktaş, whose stories were published in newspapers, are the protagonists of a similar story. The shop where they cook their own dishes achieved huge success in seven months after receiving orders from five star hotels and shopping malls.

The mother and daughter from the Aegean province of İzmir have become a source of employment for the women in the neighborhood.

In short, women entrepreneurs, regardless of their level of education, change primarily and directly the lives of women in their own entourage.

The key figures in the business community show a similar approach. ING Bank CEO Pınar Abay, whom I had a chance to speak with, has recently succeeded to raise the number of women employees at the bank to 55 percent since 2011, when she took office.

Her target is to raise the participation of the current 34 percent women among the executives to 50 percent in the next five years.

In a country where, according to official statistics, women are paid lesser than men, Abay has also succeeded in equalizing their pays.   

I could not believe my ears when she said the number of women employees at the bank’s branch in the eastern province of Kahramanmaraş was 67 percent.

March/07/2017

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