Gender Equality Convention in Istanbul: A more equal world for all

01 Apr 2011

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In order to intensify the efforts in the field of gender equality in Turkey, the International Gender Equality Convention with the theme of “Role of Equality Commissions for a More Equal World for All” has been organized by Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) Equal Opportunities Commission for Woman and Man in cooperation with UNDP Turkey in İstanbul in late March.

New Horizons - Celebrating the second anniversary of TGNA Equal Opportunities Commission for Woman and Man, the Convention was held with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, aiming to contribute to the enrichment and diversification of the efforts for mainstreaming gender equality in all levels of decision making and daily lives of the citizens.

The convention brought together representatives of international community working on gender equality including different institutions of the United Nations; European Parliament; Inter-Parliamentary Union; Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union and chairpersons of the equal opportunities commissions of parliaments and ombudsmen from various countries with parliamentarians and representatives of the media, arts, public and private sectors and civil society organizations.

Istanbul convention provided an opportunity to share national and international experiences of mainstreaming gender equality in all stages of policy formulation and implementation, raising awareness on the issue and functioning of institutions.

The convention also hosted president of UN Women Michelle Bachelet, minister for the equal opportunities of Italy Maria Rosaria Carfagna and head of the mission of the League of Arab States Mohammed El Fatah Naciri.

The convention that contained seven separate sessions resulted in discussion and collection of updated information about recent trends, developments and challenges with respect to gender equality in decision and policy making processes; engagement of stakeholders; women participation in labor force; women’s access to education and role of gender equality commissions and media in creating a gender sensitive society.

Some results

In that respect, the Convention has yielded important results as per the session discussions including but not limited to the following:

• The vulnerability of women is universal since gender inequality is seen in every spheres of life all over the world;
• Gender inequality is a human rights issue and it is crucial to make a special focus on the promotion of women’s rights;
• Special measures should be taken for employment of women in public sector;
• Gender Equality Commissions should have direct relations and effective collaboration with other stakeholders in the field of gender equality. In that respect, it was strongly emphasized that the Commissions should have an independent budget.
• It is crucial that there is a considerable raise in the awareness on gender equality when compared to 10 years before. However, the issue should be discussed accurately and strategically in order not to lose its importance;
• In media, women are often present as an object and rarely as a subject;
• Speaking about equality is an important indicator of inequality in a society.

With regards to gender equality and role of parliaments, particularly gender equality commissions, the participants discussed the possible means to make gender sensitive politics, gender sensitive parliaments and societies. In addition; it was also strongly emphasized that women should not be seen as victims or passive actors of change or recipients of aids but instead actors and leaders for change.

Will be repeated annually

The International Convention on Gender Equality is considered to be the first step of establishing a sustainable knowledge and experience sharing network among gender equality commissions around the globe and expected to be repeated every year hosted by different countries.

The results of the convention will also be brought together in a publication and will be disseminated to national and international actors in the field of gender equality.