Private sector partnerships and male engagement

Gender inequalities often result from patriarchal attitudes, deep-rooted stereotypes and related social norms regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society. Achieving gender equality requires transforming unequal power relations between men and women, eliminating harmful gender stereotypes, challenging notions of masculinity and traditional perceptions of manhood, and supporting women in the community and workplace.

Women in Türkiye bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work. They spend more than four times the number of hours on unpaid house and care work than men. Women’s participation in the labor market is significantly lower than that of men, and a substantial share of women’s employment is in the informal sector. Gender inequalities also persist in the private sector where women are underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions. Women are largely employed in traditional jobs and confront sexism and violence in the workplace, along with barriers to professional development. The gender wage gap is estimated at 15.6 percent in Türkiye, and widens with age and for women who are mothers.

UN Women in Action in Türkiye

Private sector partnerships

Engagement of men and boys in advancing gender equality

UN Women Türkiye works to mobilize men and boys as equal partners for gender equality and women’s empowerment and challenge patriarchal beliefs, practices, and structures. UN Women coordinates the global solidarity movement HeForShe, an advocacy and partnership platform that engages men and boys to stand in solidary with women.

HeForShe Movement was initiated in 2015 in Türkiye with Koç Group, a former Impact Champion of HeForShe between 2015-2021 and recently one of the Action Coalition leaders on Technology and Innovation at the Generation Equality Forum. With the support of the private sector, civil society, universities, youth, and public figures such as celebrity role models, UN Women has been working to engage men and boys in gender equality as change agents for gender equality since 2015.

HeForShe Türkiye announced Kerem Bürsin as the first HeForShe Advocate in December 2021. Together with HeForShe, Kerem Bürsin raises awareness about gender roles, gender-based stereotypes, and harmful masculinities.

Recognizing the power of sports to propel gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment, UN Women Türkiye is collaborating with sports organizations to tear down gender barriers and discrimination. In 2018, Fenerbahçe Sports Club, one of the prominent multi-sports clubs in Türkiye, joined forces with UN Women under the HeForShe movement, with the support of Tüpraş, one of the companies of Koç Holding and a WEPs signatory, to become an inclusive sports club to advance gender equality and empower women and girls in sports. The multi-stakeholder partnership represents a first and unique undertaking that aims to advance gender equality in and through sports, eliminate gender stereotypes and transform harmful social norms in the sports ecosystem, create an inclusive and safe environment for women and girls in sports, and to encourage men and boys to become active allies in advancing gender equality by supporting UN Women’s HeForShe Movement. Due to this partnership, HeForShe’s male engagement pathway, UN Women Turkiye, was able to engage and influence the sports ecosystem, traditionally dominated by men, to advance gender equality in and through sports.

One of the principal achievements of the partnership is the development of a blueprint for the sports ecosystem, including sports clubs, federations, and local amateur sports organizations, Guidelines for Gender-responsive Sports Organizations, to contribute to the operationalization of the UN Women’s Sports for Generation Equality principles.

UN Women also works with partners to increase the involvement of men in childcare and child development, equal sharing of household responsibilities, and prevention of gender-based violence and harmful practices like child marriages. UN Women supports research on the challenges and opportunities for advancing men’s engagement in gender equality.

UN Women Türkiye developed the strategy document on Engaging men and Boys in Gender Equality in January 2022 to establish an enhanced perception of gender equality and to engage men and boys in gender equality efforts which will recuperate the effects of patriarchal norms and practices on women and LBGTI+ as well as men and boys.

Creating new platforms for the private sector supporting gender equality

UN Women Türkiye works to increase gender equality and women’s leadership and participation in businesses and the private sector through the global Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). WEPs is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. Companies commit to the WEPs to foster business practices that empower women, both internally with their employees, and externally with suppliers and customers. With more than 452 WEPs signatories Türkiye is among the global WEPs champions.

Unstereotype Alliance Türkiye aims to set an example for business and society by breaking down gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality. Launched in 2019, the Unstereotype Alliance Türkiye chapter is a coalition of gender equality champion advertisers, brands and companies that work to eliminate gender stereotypes in advertising. Convened by UN Women Türkiye, the platform is led by Reklamverenler Derneği (Advertisers Association). The founding members of the alliance are Avon, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Eczacıbaşı Holding, Eti Gıda, Johnson&Johnson, Kantar Media, Koç Holding, P&G, Publicis Groupe, Unilever, Vodafone, WPP. In 2021, IPG/Mullenlowe, GSK and Bayer, in 2022, Akbank and TBWA have joined the alliance.

The goals of the Alliance are to:

  • Foster a business culture without gender stereotypes
  • Develop principles for businesses to create portrayals in advertising that is free from stereotypes
  • Drive social change to end stereotypes and discrimination through communications and awareness-raising