Turkish Parliamentarians set sights on new policies and a road map for ending violence against women in politics


UN Women Türkiye conducted a “Knowledge-sharing Meeting on Improving Structures to Increase Women’s Participation in Politics and Decision-making” in November 2022. Photo: UN Women/Ayşe Gültekin
UN Women Türkiye conducted a “Knowledge-sharing Meeting on Improving Structures to Increase Women’s Participation in Politics and Decision-making” in November 2022. Photo: UN Women/Ayşe Gültekin

With discussions focused on the importance of gender equality for empowering women – not just in politics but in all areas of life – and on developing policies to combat violence against women, UN Women Türkiye held a knowledge-sharing meeting in collaboration with members of the Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men (EOC) of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) from 26–27 November 2022 in Sapanca, western Türkiye.

In her opening remarks, Chair of the TGNA-EOC Fatma Aksal said: “It is simply essential to eliminate violence against women in politics as one of the obstacles to women’s active participation. In this context, it is necessary to adopt special measures. Defining ‘violence against women in the area of politics’ as a separate title is incredibly important to ensure effective coping strategies against this type of violence.”

Meanwhile, UN Women Türkiye Country Director Asya Varbanova emphasized in her opening speech that with the general elections of 2023 approaching, she hopes to see a significant increase in the number of women in the new Parliament. “When women are empowered, it not only contributes to the advancement of women’s rights, but it also benefits the country’s economic growth, fosters inclusive business approaches and eradicates poverty. A world where women are free from violence and have access to equal rights and opportunities in politics and in all areas of life is essential for sustainable development.”

The Ambassador of Sweden to Türkiye, Staffan Herrström, added: “We notice that UN Women inspires diverse partnerships with a wide range of actors in Turkish society for the advancement of women’s human rights, empowerment and gender equality and creates an enabling platform for these partnerships to take place. We are proud of being one of the main donors to UN Women, both globally and also here in Türkiye.”

Terra Development Cooperative member and Associate Professor İlknur Yüksel Kaptanoğlu introduced the Violence against Women in Politics Summary Report prepared under the “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership in Political and Business Life” project funded by Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by UN Women Türkiye.

A presentation of the Concluding Observations on Türkiye’s Eighth Periodic Report on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was made by Nicole Ameline, a member of the CEDAW Committee. 
It was followed by a good practice session on violence against women in politics, with the online participation of Senator Virginia Velasco, former Minister of Justice, and Institutional Transparency of Bolivia.

At an improvement session for women entrepreneurs in public procurement, Emine Erdem, Chair of the Board of The Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Türkiye (KAGIDER), mentioned its relevant efforts. “At KAGIDER, we have implemented our ‘Women in Business Network’ project to increase the share of women entrepreneurs in public procurement, alongside with other projects. The main objective of our project is to: create a communication and solidarity network between women entrepreneurs and organizations of women entrepreneurs; to ensure that women in the business world have access to the information and markets they need; to gather women entrepreneurs and suppliers in Türkiye on a platform; and to make this platform a resource that the public and private sectors can benefit from in the procurement of goods and services.”

The meeting is expected to spur new laws and policies to increase women's representation in politics and to take leading roles in the parliament and other decision-making mechanisms. The outputs of the meeting will be used to create a road map for the TGNA-EOC.