In the words of Kerem Bürsin: “Gender inequality affects all of us, not just women”


Popular actor Kerem Bürsin is the first National HeForShe Advocate in Turkey. Photo credit: UN Women/İlkin Eskipehlivan
Popular actor Kerem Bürsin is the first National HeForShe Advocate in Turkey. Photo credit: UN Women/İlkin Eskipehlivan 

Known as a pro-feminist and an advocate for gender equality, the famous actor Kerem Bürsin became the first National Advocate of the HeForShe Movement in Turkey. UN Women’s solidarity movement HeForShe offers an innovative and inclusive approach to mobilizing men as partners with women in challenging gender inequalities.  


I’m proud to be an Advocate of the HeForShe movement, which calls on men to take action for gender equality. I am aware of the responsibilities that come with this title. In fact, I have been aware of and have reflected on these responsibilities for a long time as a ‘man’ and even a ‘followed man’ for a more equal society, a world without violence. When you start to think and question, you see how social norms and gender stereotypes upset the balance of power against women and can lead to inequalities and violence against them in all areas of life. I am determined to break this spiral in both my personal and professional life and to be a part of a transformation towards gender equality. Together with HeForShe, we will diversify what we can do for a more just and egalitarian society and carry this into concrete actions. 

You don’t need to be a woman to see the inequalities that they experience due to gender-based discrimination. Gender inequality affects all of us, not just women. Women did not create inequalities on their own. It stems from unstable power relationships, and on one end of it are men. If men are not determined to take steps to eliminate this inequality, we cannot remove this structural problem. 

We are all assigned certain roles and identities from birth, even before. There is always a discussion about how to be a man or a woman … We are warned that if we step outside of these gender roles, we will be ostracized or even punished. The gender roles expected of men fuel gender discrimination and inequality. Therefore, what we need to talk about is the perception of masculinity and how we bring this to life. We, men, must question and transform the harmful aspects of masculinity to prevent gender-based discrimination and inequality. One of the most important steps is to realize the privileges we have just because we are men. Even if we are aware of it, we see these privileges as natural and normal and prefer to ignore the fact that they create inequality and discrimination.

Real change will come when we take action to challenge and end our privileges and discrimination. We must speak out against the discrimination, injustices, gender-based inequalities, and stereotypes that affect us all. As a role model, I want people to say: "If Not Me, Then Who?". The post I published on my social media account as part of the HeForShe’s #Ido (#BenDegilsemKim) campaign mobilized many journalists, columnists, and opinion leaders. Being able to ignite this was very valuable to me. It's not enough anymore to just say things. It's time to take action and set an example for one another!”