UN Women meets with MPs in Turkey to strengthen policymaking at the central level to achieve gender equality


Participants from UN Women Turke's two-day workshop. Photo: UN Women
Participants from UN Women Turkey's two-day workshop. Photo: UN Women

UN Women Turkey conducted a two-day workshop with the members of parliament (MPs) of the Turkey Grand National Assembly (TGNA) Equal Opportunities Commission between 23–24 October 2021. The workshop provided fruitful discussions on advancing women’s empowerment in Turkey through gender responsive policy, legislation, and budgeting. Joined by MPs from different political parties alongside relevant staff of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, the workshop involved discussion on the seven reviewed legislations for its gender responsiveness and the integration of gender perspective into existing and proposed legislations.

During the workshop, a panel on gender responsive planning was conducted with the participation of international speakers. Moderated by UN Women Turkey Programmes Manager Zeliha Ünaldı, the panel welcomed international politicians with experience and good practices in gender responsive budgeting namely, Eglantina Gjermeni from Albania, Helmut Berger from Austria, Sabina Cudic from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kevin Deveaux from Canada. The panel enabled knowledge and experience exchange among MPs from the Equal Opportunities Commission, Ministry staff, and the panelists.

Speaking at the event, the Chairperson of TGNA Equal Opportunities Commission, Fatma Aksal, emphasized the importance of women’s empowerment to reach development and welfare goals. “Women should be empowered and reach the positions they deserve in the economy and labor force. Increasing women’s employment and entrepreneurship will also strengthen their representation in politics and the bureaucracy. Thanks to this meeting, we will evaluate existing laws, regulations, budgets, and plans from the perspective of equal opportunities for women and men and will accelerate our work accordingly,” she said.

During her speech at the opening of the workshop, UN Women Turkey Country Director, Asya Varbanova, pointed to the importance of discussions on instrumental and key issues in advancing gender equality and women’s rights around the globe and in Turkey. “Key issues like gender responsive legislation, budgeting, and temporary special measures to increase women’s political representation are instrumental to achieving gender equality. When applied systematically, and with a high level of commitment, they lead to concrete results for women and girls and more equal and just societies.”

At the workshop the Counsellor/ Head of Pre-Accession and Humanitarian Assistance from the Embassy of Sweden to Turkey, Malin Stawe, shared how Sweden benefitted from European standards in working towards gender equality. “As a country, we have benefitted immensely from our engagement in and commitment to global and regional European standards and normative frameworks for our national struggles to realize these objectives, and we continue to do so.”

The session was organized with the financial support of the European Union and Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). It was part of UN Women’s projects on advancing gender equality and women’s leadership in political and business life and on Implementing Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting in Turkey.