5th Forum - The Status of Women in Turkey in the Last Decade

The fifth session of the UNESCO Forum on Gender Equality, organized in cooperation with the General Directorate on the Status of Women, Turkey, was held on 8 October 2008. This session focused on the status of women in Turkey in the last decade.

The forum began with opening remarks from Mr Hans d’Orville, Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning, who noted that the decision to focus the 5th session of the forum on the experience of a single Member State reflected UNESCO’s growing commitment to a country-level approach in the context of Delivering as One. Following this introduction, Mr Ali Tuygan, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Turkey to UNESCO expressed his strong support for the pursuit of gender equality in Turkey, noting that the promotion of women’s equal rights in Turkey can be traced back to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  

The forum was moderated by Ms S. Gülser Corat, Director of the Division for Gender Equality of the Bureau of Strategic Planning. Panelists included: Ms Esengül Civelek, General Director, Turkish General Directorate on the Status of Women, Ms Gülsün Büker, Legal Advisor, Turkish General Directorate on the Status of Women and Prof. Dr Ayşe Akın, Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey.  

Ms Esengül Civelek gave a comprehensive overview of the measures taken by the Turkish government in the last decade to introduce legal reforms for gender equality, and to ensure that these reforms translate into reality for Turkish women. As part of her presentation, Ms Civelek showed several television spots made by the Turkish General Directorate on the Status of Women to raise awareness on and prevent violence against women. Ms Gülsün Büker then reviewed in greater detail the various legal reforms in civil and criminal matters made in the past decade. Finally, Prof. Dr Ayşe Akın discussed progress and continued challenges for the status of women in Turkey in the domains of education, labour, and health.

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