On the occasion of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 60), Peace Islands Institute, the Journalists and Writers Foundation, Eringerfeld Educational Institution, and the Friede Dialogue Institute organized a side-event entitled “Empowerment of women in Decision-Making Positions” on 18 March 2016.
Huseyin Hurmali, the Vice-President of the Journalist and Writers Foundation, delivered welcome remarks saying that women’s empowerment is an issue that needs a greater awareness. Despite the successful economic and social regulations, women are still facing discrimination and inequalities in their social and economic lives, especially in decision-making positions.
Following Mr. Hurmali`s remarks, Alexander Kauschanski, the German UN Youth Delegate highlighted some interesting facts on women in decision making positions and gave the floor to Dr. Lily Sucharipa, who is the President of the UN Women Austria. Dr. Sucharipa mentioned that there is a lack of women representation in decision-making positions and suggested that society should be encouraged to widen their perspectives in order to eliminate discrimination against women. ”We need to strengthen girls education to achieve our goal.” Sucharipa said.
Dr. Michaelina Jakala from Coventry University, UK, talked about the possibilities and challenges of leading more women to take strategic positions as decision-makers in the peace processes. Dr. Jakala said, “It is recognizable that in peace processes there is a lack of women’s representation. We have to focus on encourage young girls to involve in decision-making processes. We have to focus on grassroots and encourage young people. We have to redefine the role of decision-makers. Because it is very important to have peace education to understand other people rights.”
The next panelist was Dr. Demet Bayraktar, Head of the Department of Business Administration at Suleyman Sah University. The focus in her speech was on women’s economical empowerment as a prerequisite for sustainable development. She indicated that women represent the half of the world’s human resources and is still undervalued and underutilized. Dr. Bayraktar stated that the economic empowerment would increase women’s access to economic resources and opportunities, including jobs, financial services and properties. According to Dr. Bayraktar, the main barriers are gender roles, lack of social services, lack of role models, lack of low education level and lack of attendance to the decision-making positions. “It is our responsibility to eliminate this problems and barriers” Dr. Bayraktar said and added, “The society should use female potential to support economic growth and societal well-being.”
Dr. Istar Gozaydin, the last panelist of the event, is the Head of Department of Sociology at the Gediz University. Dr. Gozaydin presented the She4All Project based on the UN campaign HeForShe to the audience. Dr. Gozaydin shared the fact that women have to confront inequality every day, which is hardly to perceive. The gap between legal rights and practical life is enormous. Dr. Gozaydin said, “With She4All, we want to increase understanding and awareness on this subject and emphasize gender equality and women’s empowerment in decision-making positions. The project aims to call the attention of the international society on gender equality, provide necessary information and utilized the experience of women who are already in decision-making positions.” According to Dr. Gozaydin creating awareness and mobilizing the youth on this extremely important issue would contribute a level playground for future generations that it is a subjective responsibility for the present generation to leave a more peaceful and humane world.
After Gozaydin’s presentation, the German UN Youth Delegate Alexander Kauschanski presented the Call for Action, written by the students of the Eringerfeld Education School in Germany and the Brigitenau Education Scholl at the House of the European Union in Vienna on 10 February 2016.