In the Words of Kadem Doğan: “I question inequalities and also empower myself to challenge them”


Photo: Personal archive
Photo: Personal archive

Kadem Doğan is a board member of the Freedom and Equality for Women Association based in Adana, a city in southern Turkey. Born in a village in south-eastern Turkey, Kadem started to question the inequalities in society at a young age when she realized the heavy care and domestic work burden carried by the women in her village. Doğan secured a small grant for her Association through the “Strong Civic Space for Gender Equality” project, which is implemented by UN Women with financial support from the European Union. This support helps her strengthen the capacity of her Association in the fight against gender inequalities.


When I was a little girl, girls in villages only attended primary school. My father was the village mukhtar and he wanted to make sure that my two brothers, three sisters and I fully complete our education. Conditions at that time were very challenging. He rented a small apartment in the city centre for us so that we could go to school. We lived without our parents. He would come to look after us once a week and return to the village. In the end, we all became teachers.

I started questioning inequalities at an early age. I used to think that life for women in the village was very difficult. Even though men and women worked hard in the village, women always had to work twice as much. Men were having fun at weddings and other community events while women were cooking, cleaning, hosting the guests, and taking care of the children. I used to question those differences between women and men. I became a feminist at a young age.

I became one of the founding members of the Freedom and Equality for Women Association in 2015 to advocate, monitor, and protect women’s and LGBTI+ rights and social cohesion.

Previously, our Association had no office. However, thanks to the small grant provided by UN Women, we now have a very nice office. We have proper computers and printers. We now have a more comfortable and quieter workspace, so that we can focus better on delivering on our mandate.

Our corporate policies were incomplete and we could not use technology effectively. With the grant provided, my team and I received Google office tools training and learned about more effective programme management as well as work planning. We are growing by strengthening ourselves on volunteer management, financial literacy, fundraising, and social media management. As we advance with trainings and corporate policies, both my organization and I are growing. I will be stronger and more able to work for women and girls, and for gender equality.”