A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women
ANKARA, 8 March 2013 – Violence
against women and girls is still a global epidemic, that inflicts all segments
of societies and communities regardless of geography or economic development
level. The shocking crimes of violence against women and girls come from around
the world on almost a daily basis. What is worst is that in some cases the
victims are punished for the crimes they fell prey for. All
too often, perpetrators go unpunished while women and girls are afraid to speak
out because of a culture of impunity.
To remind the
international community of its pledge to end violence against women and punish
the abusers, this year’s theme for the March 8th International Women’s Day has
been set as “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.
This year the United Nations continues to urge the
international community to declare
against women will be prosecuted and women will not be allowed to be punished
for the abuses they have suffered.
clearly show that the international community
should take urgent steps and renew its pledge to combat this global health menace wherever it
may lurk, in homes and businesses, and in the minds of
people who allow violence to continue.
Global statistics show an alarming increase in
violence against women and girls:
- Up to 70% of women in
the world report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some
point in their lifetime.
- Up to 50% of sexual
assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16.
- Globally, 603 million
women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.
- Over 60 million girls
worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.
- Between 500,000 to 2
million people, the majority of them women and children, are trafficked
annually into situations including prostitution, forced labour, slavery or
servitude, according to estimates.
- Worldwide among women
aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than
cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined, according to World Bank
Turkey violence against women is also an issue that has to be addressed.
- In Turkey, 4 out of 10 women face physical/sexual violence by their husband and/or
- Honor killings are serious crimes targeting mainly women.
- Child brides constitute one out of every three marriages in Turkey.
However, inequalities women have to face are not
limited to violence.
- Women dominate
low-pay, low-status, part-time or contract work that offers limited
opportunities for social security coverage. Even for similar kinds of work,
women are typically paid 20-30% less than men.
- FAO evidence shows that female-headed households were more
affected by the food price crisis than male-headed households, regardless of
level of education and of residence in urban or rural areas.
- Worldwide, for every 100 boys out of
school there are 122 girls out of school. But in some countries the gender gap
is much wider.
discrimination, trafficking in women and girls, integration difficulties,
under-representation in politics, unequal access to resources, unequal
employment strategies, and lack of access to basic services, are the key
factors behind the unequal status of migrant women.
- Refugee women
face several protection problems today such as safety and security; equal
access to humanitarian assistance; registration and documentation; and
procedures; and trafficking in women and girls.
In Turkey, although
internationally commendable steps have been taken, there is still a long way to
go to achieve gender equality.
- The representation of women in politics at the parliamentary level is 14.1%
(with only 78 seats held by women in the 550-member parliament) and that of
local government is less than 2%.
- Turkey ranks 77th out of 146 countries according to Gender Inequality Index
(GII), which reveals gender disparities in reproductive health, empowerment and
labour market participation.
- Compared to labour force participation rates for men that was 71.8% as of
November 2012 (the latest available data), an estimate of only 30.2% of women
were in the labour force. This falls far behind the global average rate of 51.1%.
- Due to the prevalence of negative gender stereotypes based on social, economic
and cultural barriers, women face serious difficulties entering and remaining
in the labour market. This is clearly seen in the non-agricultural unemployment
rate for women, which was 17.3% as of November 2012.
- Insufficient child and elderly care public services, gender-based division of
labour in the labour market and a patriarchal mindset are among the reasons
restricting the entry of women into labour force.
are mostly employed by the agriculture sector in rural areas and by the
services sector in urban areas.
- According to the MDG Progress Report for Turkey, the country has almost
reached the target of eliminating gender inequality in primary education
although the proportion of girls who are not taking up secondary education is
United Nations agencies in Turkey, in
cooperation with the government, NGOs and media, work for empowerment of women
individually or through joint programmes.
- As part of the
new strategic framework, FAO has made gender mainstreaming central to all of
its development policies and programmes.
- FAO provides
technical support in the gathering and analyzing of sex-disaggregated data for
the agricultural and rural development sectors. It also raises awareness on the
importance of gender, equity in access to resources, goods, services and
decision-making in rural areas as well as decent rural employment issues for
achieving food security and agricultural development.
- ILO promotes
decent work for all women and men and mainstreams gender equality in all its
activities. In line with this policy, ILO works to increase women’s decent
employment opportunities in cooperation with the Turkish Employment Agency
(İŞKUR) in Turkey. Based on successful results gained from the previous
projects, modules of women’s human rights will be integrated into the
vocational training programmes implemented by İŞKUR. In addition, In addition,
ILO promotes gender equality in the labour market through workshops and
seminars it organizes such as the recent National Conference on Decent Work for
Domestic Workers in Turkey.
- IOM, as it
enters its 23rd year of operations in Turkey, continues efforts to uphold the
human rights and dignity of migrant women and children. Key areas IOM is engaged with include
advocating for gender sensitive migration policies, combating human
trafficking, and policy oriented research on the gender implications of
- UNDP, through
women coalition established by the women councils has contributed to the
establishment of the Equal Opportunities Committee in the Parliament.
- UNDP and the
UN Women’s Joint Programme on Fostering and Enabling Environment for Gender
Equality in Turkey, aims to strengthen an enabling institutional
environment for gender equality in Turkey.
- UNDP, UN Women
and Sabancı University have launched a new joint programme entitled United Nations Joint Programme to Promote
the Human Rights of Women (UNJP) with
financial support of the Sabancı Foundation.
- In Turkey’s southeast
Anatolia region, only 3% of women are engaged in paid labour. Within the scope
of a project titled, Innovations for
Women’s Empowerment in the GAP Region, UNDP and the Swedish International
Development Agency (SIDA) are supporting hundreds of women to become fashion
entrepreneurs, through forming and owning their own cooperative.
- UNFPA advocates
for better responses to gender-based violence through improved policies and
protection systems. Capacity building activities and trainings for service
providers and government officials have been conducted all over the country for
the last eleven years. UNFPA also increases involvement of young people in
promoting gender equality and combating gender based violence.
- UNHCR provides training for civil society, NGO staff, host-country border
guards, police, military units and others who come into contact with refugees.
UNHCR works with the Ministry of the Interior, other governmental institutions
and NGOs to build the capacity of the national reception and Refugee Status
Determination (RSD) system.
- UNHCR also supports the Government of Turkey to ensure that
all Syrian refugees (half of whom are women), either they live in the camps or
outside the camps in Turkey, receive protection.
- UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights
of women, and girls and to support their full potential in the political,
social and economic development of their communities.
- UNICEF is supporting gender-sensitive procedures and measures, through
the improvement of the child justice and protection systems.
- UNICEF’s support for preschool education is aiming to increase the
labour force participation of women through the development of a
community-based model of child care and training modules for women to be
employed in this context.
- World Health
Organization (WHO) aims at strengthening its capacity to analyse and address
the role of gender and sex in all its functional areas.
- United Nations Joint Programme “Growth
with Decent Work for All: National Youth Employment Program and Pilot
Implementation in Antalya”, which was implemented by the FAO, ILO, IOM and UNDP
in partnership with the Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR), aimed to
reduce youth unemployment and increase the participation of young women in the
labour force. The UN Joint Programme launched at the end of 2009
and was completed at the end of 2012.
- With the aim of enhancing the international
competitiveness of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and promoting
decent work opportunities in the textile and clothing sector of Turkey, ILO,
UNDP and UNIDO, in cooperation with İTKİB (İstanbul Textile and Apparel
Exporters Association), implemented a Joint Programme on “Harnessing Sustainable Linkages for the SMEs in Turkey’s Textile Sector”.
- A second leg of
the UN Joint Programme on Women Friendly
Cities is jointly managed by the UNDP, UNFPA, SIDA and Ministry of Interior
and aims to promote an enabling environment for women-friendly communities by
means of mainstreaming gender into the planning process of local authorities
through local dialogue with women NGOs, grassroots organizations and
governmental institutions at national and local levels.
We can establish true gender equality
During the last 10 years and despite the recent global financial and economic
crises, Turkey has made internationally applauded economic progress. However, to make it sustainble, the full
potential of women has to be mobilised, their access to the labour market
should be encouraged, more women should be included in decision making processes,
women's participation in political life should increase, and maybe most
importantly, pervasive violence against women should be eliminated.
has all the ingredients that require success in this endeavor: a determined government, a strong private sector, effective
NGOs and a vibrant media. The UN Turkey
will continue to cooperate with all parties involved to increase awareness of
women’s issues in Turkey.
is time to keep our promise and eliminate the global scourge of violence