In the words of Demet Evgar: “Women should be the lead actors of their own stories”
On International Women’s Day this year, UN Women announced famous Turkish actor Demet Evgar as its first National Goodwill Ambassador in Turkey. Advocating for women’s rights and gender equality, Demet Evgar has been using the power of her art to bring diverse stories of women into to the limelight. She recently kicked-off the #IamaWoman Campaign together with UN Women. Evgar will also work with UN Women to showcase the invisible stories of women.
It gives me great honour to become a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. I have been supporting women’s rights both in my private and professional life. Being selected for this title shows me that I am on the right path. The title comes with great honour but also important responsibility. Being aware of this, I aim to strengthen my efforts to empower women and support achieving gender equality in collaboration with UN Women. I would like to make the real-life stories of women visible and inspire other women by creating solidarity among them.
I am an actor who reaches a wide audience. The movies, TV series, theaters people watch, songs they listen to, and the posts they see on social media play a big role in shaping their thoughts. While they watch my movies, I want people to see the inequalities and discrimination women suffer. I also want them to see how women can succeed when they have an opportunity. When we look at the screens, the female characters are usually emotional and docile, while the male characters are rude and aggressive. It is seldom we see women in the lead roles.
That's exactly why we launched the #IamaWoman(#BenKadınım) Campaign. We started with saying, “I am a woman, I am aware, I change and make a change”. I created a banner out of our slogan and displayed it in a public space. The video showing my act reached millions of women across Turkey and beyond. It went viral. For the change we want to see we need to be aware. Therefore, our campaign will first raise awareness among women about their potential, and later invite them to become agents for the transformative change we want to achieve.
We want to speak up and say, “I am a woman, I am against violence, I know my rights, I want to work, I demand care for my children, I must have access to services for my needs”. Women should be the lead actors of their own stories. I want to see women filling the lead roles instead of staying in the supporting roles. I want to see women sharing their real stories with everyone and to be empowered through the solidarity these stories create. Women need role models who can inspire them, empower them, and create a network of solidarity together.
When women realize their own potential, when they break those glass ceilings, those doors, and get out from the rooms they are stuck in, we will be able to see more women leading the way. This can be achieved not only with UN Women, but also with everyone who advocates for gender equality. Keeping this in mind, in the coming two years #IamaWoman/ #BenKadınım will knock on doors of different allies and team up with them to reach more women.
We will invite all women in Turkey and beyond to make their voices heard through #IamaWoman. My common goal with UN Women is to reach as many women as possible from every corner of Turkey and to create a transformative power together in solidarity to achieve the world we are dreaming of."