United Nations Joint Programme on Promoting Gender Equality at Local Level

What is the joint programme about?


Photo: Nezih Tavlaş

The overall objective of the Programme is to foster increased 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.

What is the situation?

As enshrined in a number of international conventions, equality of women and men constitutes a fundamental right for all, and an essential value for every democracy. In order to be fully achieved these rights need not only to be legally recognized, but to be effectively applied to all aspects of life. Turkey displays strong progress regarding women’s rights, especially since 1990 with promotion of targeted efforts to further strengthen women’s opportunities in Turkey by the Government of Turkey, NGOs, academia, private sector companies and international organizations.

According to the 2010 MDG Progress Report of Turkey, Turkey 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 noteworthy. The MDG Progress Report highlights the existing structural inequalities; especially those related to geographical and social gender disparities as remaining challenges for the achievement of MDGs. The Report calls for special attention to Goal 3, which is the area where Turkey is encountering serious difficulties and structural obstacles and therefore is the goal with the highest risk of not being achieved by 2015. The primary gaps are found in the participation of women in decision making and in labor force. According to Gender Inequality Index (GII), this reveals gender disparities in reproductive health, empowerment and labor market participation, Turkey ranks 77th out of 138 countries.

Nevertheless, Turkey displays an important progress regarding women’s rights since 1990s. As a result of a strong women’s movement and efforts of women’s organizations as well as international monitoring activities on gender equality in Turkey, a common agenda for gender equality has been developed. Additionally, over the past 10 years, legal reforms that eliminate fundamental discriminatory provisions against women were adopted. These include provisions of the legislation for the establishment of national machinery for gender equality both in the executive, i.e. Directorate General on Status of Women and the legislative, i.e. the Equal Opportunities Commission of the Parliament; penal code’s provisions those constitute major step towards gender equality and protection of women’s human rights in terms of bodily and sexual autonomy; provisions of the civil code those abolish the supremacy of men in marriage and thus establishes the full equality of men and women in the family; provisions of the family protection law against domestic violence; ratification of Optional Protocol to “Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” (CEDAW) and municipal law no 5393, which enforce the establishment of shelters for women and children for metropolitan municipalities and municipalities with larger than 50,000 population are among the milestones in the course of gender equality.

Among the steps taken in this regard, the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission for Man and Woman represents a new and potentially very important institutional dimension of the state gender machinery, well positioned to mainstream gender equality perspective in legislation processes and outcomes as it is mandated to do both, mainstream gender in legislations and monitor the implementation of the legislations. Its establishment was welcomed by the CEDAW Committee, who recognized this as a positive development in Government of Turkey’s efforts meet commitment to gender equality. Also the EU has welcomed the establishment of the Parliamentary Equal Opportunities Commission. At the same time, however, EC and CEDAW Committee highlighted the need to make further efforts to ensure that women's rights are fully respected in practice, in all fields of life including women's participation in labor market, political representation, education for girls and violence against women.

What is UNDP’s mission?



Social inclusion, women’s empowerment and gender equality is at the very core of the UN Development Cooperation Strategy (UNDCS) for Turkey covering 2011-2015 with two specific outcomes targeting these priorities: Outcome 4 “Increased provision of inclusive and responsive public as well as community-based services to strengthen equitable access to knowledge, information and quality basic services (education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and human safety)” and Outcome 5 “Equal participation of women ensured in all fields of public sector, private sector and civil society with strengthened institutional mechanisms to empower women’s status.”

The UN system in Turkey has been developing and implementing interventions to address gender inequalities and mainstreaming gender. Within the framework of the Local Agenda 21 (LA-21) Programme, implemented by UNDP, the City Councils, Women’s Councils and Youth Councils have been established for developing policies and mechanisms to increase the participation of the women and the youth in local decision-making processes policies and strategies. The Women Councils, as one of the structures established in the scope of LA 21 Programme, is not only a means but an end for the achievement of the MDG 3. The Women Councils set the ground and the framework for the visibility and voices of the women as the stakeholders of the communities.

In the field of women’s participation to politics and decision making processes, where UNDP, in close cooperation with the women’s movement, has been investing to the establishment of institutional and human resource capacities for women empowerment, has contributed to the increase of proportion of women MPs in the Parliament and establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission of the Parliament for Woman and Man, along with its national counterparts, as well as strengthened awareness within media, particularly at local level, on gender concepts and the role media can play.

‘UN Joint Programme on Protecting and Promoting Human Rights of Women and the Girl Child’ (UNJP) implemented by UNFPA in six cities of Turkey; İzmir, Kars, Nevşehir, Şanlıurfa, Trabzon and Van between 2006-2010, which is the first phase of the present programme provided a crucial platform for the Turkish government, NGOs, private sector and other stakeholders to work together for the goal of establishing gender equality in Turkey. The six cities where UNJP was implemented, and which aimed to be certified as ‘Women Friendly Cities’, have gained significant experience in integrating women’s issues into the agenda of local policy-making through the Local Equality Action Plans (LEAPs) which they have adopted.

As stated in the Assessment of Development Result (ADR) carried out in 2009 of UNDP’s work since 2005, UNDP has made a strong contribution to social equity in Turkey and has been instrumental in promoting the concept of gender mainstreaming in Turkey and contributing to increase women’s participation in decision making processes. Building on this, UNDP’s Country Programme Document (CPD) 2011-2015 aims at building institutional and individual capacity that fosters inclusive participation and strengthens responsive and accountable governance institutions, including a deepened commitment to improving governance at the local level, with particular emphasis on building capacities on human rights and gender equality.

How are we doing this?

Through this Joint Programme, UNDP in cooperation with UNFPA aims to foster increased 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.Modality of UN Joint Programme on promoting and protecting women's and girls’ human rights needs to be developed, institutionalized and disseminated countrywide. UNJP aims to improve the capacity of the local authorities (governorates and municipalities) for mainstreaming gender into their planning processes and to build capacity in women’s NGOs to advocate gender equality. Moreover UNJP aims to promote mutual collaboration between the local women NGOs, grassroots organizations and local authorities. The Joint Programme will also provide technical assistance to improve capacities of women NGOs and related stakeholders in a collaborative environment by the small-grants program. This objective will be achieved through a two pronged approach: (i) downstream participation, empowerment and capacity development of local actors, in particular grassroots representatives, women groups and NGOs while (ii) scaling up in providing upstream capacity development and technical assistance to MoI for review of existing legislation and policy frameworks to identify gaps and suggested legislative and policy changes. The JP will be built open four pillars which will be reflected in all strategies and activities: (i) benefiting from the lessons learned and results of the first phase, (ii) focusing on advocacy through enhanced visibility, (iii) integrating a robust monitoring and evaluation component and (iv) ensuring sustainability of the accomplishments.

How will Turkey benefit?

One of the major UN contributions to gender equality is the ‘UN Joint Programme on Protecting and Promoting Human Rights of Women and the Girl Child’ (UNJP) implemented in six cities of Turkey; İzmir, Kars, Nevşehir, Şanlıurfa, Trabzon and Van between 2006-2010. The Programme provided a crucial platform for the Turkish government, NGOs, private sector and other stakeholders to work together for the goal of establishing gender equality in Turkey. The six cities where UNJP was implemented, which aimed to be certified as ‘Women Friendly Cities’, have gained significant experience in integrating women’s issues into the agenda of local policy-making through the Local Equality Action Plans (LEAPs) which they have adopted. The mapping exercise planned for the inception period of the current Joint Programme is intended to further analyze the results of the first phase to the benefit of the present second phase.

Building on the results of the first phase and based on the inception phase results, the programme would expand activities in the six participating cities from the first phase to solidify the achievements and ensure sustainability while at the same time replicate the methodology and implement activities in six new pilot cities. In all its activities, the programme will promote involvement of gender sensitive men in addition to participation of women. The programme will provide administrative and practical tools for the Ministry of Interior, local government authorities and local women NGOs and grassroots groups to mainstream gender in local governance and promote an enabling environment for women friendly communities and the embedment of a rights based approach in service delivery at local level.

Consequently, the joint programme will directly contribute to the achievement of the MDG 3 on gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as to Turkey’s overall democratic governance and local governance efforts while promoting social urban upgrading and social inclusion.

What has been achieved so far?

  • UNDP formulated context-specific neighborhood management systems to engage the unorganized civil society and CBOs in pilot provinces Nevşehir, Trabzon, İzmir, and Şanlıurfa.
  • Training of neighborhood coordinators in selected neighborhoods within respective pilot provinces facilitated  community engagement process.
  • In the scope of the Joint Programme  neighborhood priority plans have been developed addressing the service needs and expectations of the women  and  were incorporated into Local Equality Action Plans.
  • A policy recommendation paper on the required legislative framework responding to the evolving needs of the communities, local authorities and central bodies relevant to gender equality has been prepared.

PRESS CLIPPINGS

Joint Programme Overview
Focus area:
Democratic Governance
Joint programme number:
00078950
Status:
Ongoing
Joint programme start date:
2011
Estimated end date:
2013
Budget:
1.788.203 USD
Joint programme funding:
SIDA
Delivery in previous fiscal years:
N/A
Amount contributed per year by each project funder
N/A
Location:
Ankara, İzmir, Kars, Nevşehir, Şanlıurfa, Trabzon, Adıyaman, Mardin, Kars, Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Malatya, Samsun
UN/National executing agencies:
Ministry of Interior, Local Authorities
UN/National/NGO implementing partners:
UNDP Turkey, UNFPA
MDG 3:
Promote gender equality & empower women
Contact Details

Leyla Şen, PhD
Programme Manager
Tel: +90 312 454 11 19
E-mail: leyla.sen@undp.org
 
Seher Alacacı
Programme Associate
Tel: +90 312 454 11 67
E-mail: seher.alacaci@undp.org
 
Pınar Arıkan

Projects Assistant
Tel: +90 312 454 11 84
E-mail: pinar.arikan@undp.org

Project Documents
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