From Where I Stand: “As change leaders, our aim is to raise awareness among young people”

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Nilgun Binışık Photo: UN Women/Ipek Naz Cinar
Nilgun Binışık Photo: UN Women/Ipek Naz Cinar
Nilgun Binışık Photo: UN Women/Ipek Naz Cinar

Nilgun Binışık has been the principal of the Fenerbahce College’s Primary School and Kindergarten for four years. After participating in gender equality seminars organized by UN Women under the HeForShe movement – Fenerbahce Sports Club collaboration, she was inspired to become a change leader for gender equality and raise awareness about the issue among young people. Under the leadership of change leaders including Nilgün Binışık, a Gender Equality Education Programme was launched at Fenerbahce College, to spread a culture of equality in the school and beyond.

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The more I got involved in the seminars, the more I changed my everyday language. Even though I always tried to behave in an equal manner, I realised I had been using some phrases [that were gender-discriminatory] that I initially thought were innocent. I stopped using them. I became more aware that using [gender-discriminatory] phrases, which have settled into our language, is no different than passively and unwittingly reinforcing existing inequalities. The seminars helped me to change my perspective.

As change leaders, our aim is to raise awareness among young people. For this purpose, we’ve launched the Fenerbahce College Gender Equality Education Programme. This programme is spread out through the year, and customised for each year, according to the age groups and their cognitive abilities. For example, while the programme we prepared for younger classes includes games that allow us to introduce gender equality, for older kids who have reached the abstract thinking phase, we provide a programme based on productivity, interpretation and advocacy. Our aim is to instil the idea that this is a social responsibility, and there is a way of advocating and communicating one’s own ideas without force, in a peaceful way. This programme will happen annually with different curriculum at different levels. After all, the way of educating children should be by building a foundation, brick by brick, and this takes time. Our perception and language are shaped by the society, and since we’ve been conducting this education programme with young children, we have an opportunity to work with fresh minds. 

We believe in a holistic approach to mainstreaming gender equality into our school, this includes gym classes, German classes, among others. For this reason, all of our school departments collaborated on preparing the programme, with the help of the seminars we attended.

I believe time has a soul and now is a good time to speak up about equality. As we’ve been going through hard times throughout the world, it becomes more important to speak up. All these reasons make us feel the urge to start talking about equality and rights, especially about gender equality.

My message to the young generation is: In this modern world you’ll always come across new possibilities, different ideas and various circumstances. With the ability to question, it’s always possible to choose the right path and proceed according to your own choices. The distorted ideas aiming to twist the right morals will never change the rights we’re supposed to have. Question. Active minds will create an equal future.”


 

SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 4: Quality education

Nilgun Binisik is one of the change leaders in Fenerbahce College who attended gender equality seminars that Fenerbahçe Sports Club implemented in the context of the HeForShe collaboration. Change leaders launched the Gender Equality Education Programme at Fenerbahce College in 2021 for all students in primary and middle school. The Programme is spread out through the year and customised for each year according to different age groups and their cognitive abilities.