Gender equality, as a human right and one of the most important and cross-cutting elements of the development agenda, has been internalized and advocated for, through all projects and activities within UNDP Turkey’s Syria Crisis Response and Resilience Portfolio. As development practitioners, we have been aware that there are still challenges and disparities in the rights of women and men; in their access to and control over resources, division of labor in households and public life, and participation into decision making mechanisms.

In working life, equality between men and women means achieving extensive equal outcomes for men and women through equal opportunities and treatment in employment, equal pay for equal value, removal of barriers in front of women, equal access to safe and healthy working environments, equal access to promotions and advancements in career, elimination of gender-based discrimination, zero tolerance to sexual harassment and abuse, and making necessary regulations for balancing work and family responsibilities.

UNDP Turkey’s Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) - Jobs Creation Component, having committed itself to promote gender equality, has run a program called “Gender Responsive Transformation of Companies and Institutions”. The aim here is supporting transformation of volunteer firms in a gender responsive way through trainings, guidelines, gender responsive code of conducts, one-on-one meetings and regular follow up of the activities, provided by UNDP. In the scope of the program, a half-day training was provided for company and institution representatives in İzmir, Adana, Mersin and Gaziantep with 39 participants; eight companies were visited by our experts and were assessed for their gender equality capacity. Gender code of conducts for each company were prepared, in collaboration with their key staff and management, and Gender Responsive Transformation in Workplace guide was prepared. Five of these eight firms have decided to continue with the transformation process by implementing the code of conducts and receiving additional support with respect to trainings, advocacy and visibility materials, consultative meetings and actions specific to each company.

Recently, the project has also initiated a cooperation with Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV). A Kick-off Webinar on gender equality in workplace was organized on September 11 by AÇEV’s initiative “Eşitliğe Değer” (Equality Matters). 37 participants from five volunteer companies, as well as from partner institutions and UNDP staff took part in this awareness raising webinar.

The webinar was consisted of four sections completed in three hours: “What is equality, what is gender equality, gender equality in working life and how to enable gender equality in our workplaces”.

In the first session, equal opportunities, actual equality and discrimination concepts were discussed. Gender equality session was brought the issue forward through assigned sex, gender, fluidity of gender roles and how to learn gender roles. Discrimination in working life, gender-based occupational segregation, women’s invisible labor, double burden, glass ceiling and glass elevator, sticky floor, leaky pipeline, labyrinth and sexism in working life were concepts and issues discussed in the Gender Equality in Working Life session.

Fourth session was spared to organization of workplaces according to policies and approaches considering gender equality. Change of mentality regarding gender roles in the workplace; equal pay for equal value; gender responsive vacancy announcements and division of labor; considering gender parity;  equality in all procedures specifically in work ethic and code of conducts; regular informing of all workers about equality transformation; establishing responsible units for zero tolerance to sexual harassment and abuse; realizing leadership and competency trainings and making necessary regulations for work and family life responsibilities both for men and women; including women in all decision making mechanisms; gender responsive language use in all internal and external correspondences and speeches; preparing gender responsive budgeting; use of gender responsive communication materials were subjects presented in detail.

In the month of October, we will be organizing a six-session training called “Taking Action for Equality”. This training aims to equip people -who can take responsibility and action in their workplace- with advocacy on gender equality and in contributing change of their workplace for a gender-equal company.

Stay tuned.

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