Min­is­ter hails ‘silent revo­lu­tion’ in women’s rights

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - National -

TURK­ISH Fam­ily and So­cial Af­fairs Min­is­ter Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya said Tues­day that Turkey has had an “silent revo­lu­tion” in terms of women’s rights and em­pow­er­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan over the past 15 years.

Kaya stressed the im­por­tance of fe­male em­pow­er­ment and eco­nomic devel­op­ment in an ad­dress at the United Na­tions in New York.

“It is im­pos­si­ble to achieve sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals with­out the con­tri­bu­tion of women,” she said in a meet­ing of for­eign del­e­gates at a women’s sum­mit. “For this rea­son, it is of vi­tal im­por­tance for women to have their right­ful sta­tus in al­most all spheres of life.”

Fur­ther speak­ing on the rev­o­lu­tion­ary changes for women in Turkey, Kaya said, “Dur­ing this process, we have es­tab­lished our main poli­cies based on the pre­ven­tion of all kinds of dis­crim­i­na­tion against women and have ef­fec­tively com­bat­ted vi­o­lence against women as well as en­sur­ing women’s em­pow­er­ment.”

The ef­forts have borne fruit with an ever in­creas­ing num­ber of fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion across the board in Turkey - soar­ing school en­roll­ment in the last 15 years, a work­force that has ex­panded 45 per­cent and fe­male em­ploy­ment up 75 per­cent in the last 12 years.

The push for greater roles for women has been cou­pled with poli­cies that have been im­ple­mented to give women greater flex­i­bil­ity in the work­force, in­clud­ing more time for things like ma­ter­nity and breast­feed­ing leaves, flex­i­ble work­ing hours and bet­ter child­care sup­port.

“The great trans­for­ma­tion that we have ac­com­plished in Turkey’s health care sec­tor has re­flected on women’s health care ser­vices as well,” Sayan Kaya said, adding that ac­cess to pre­na­tal care is now at 99 per­cent while 98 per­cent of child­birth de­liv­er­ies were per­formed by health­care per­son­nel.

The care and well-be­ing of Turks are not the only con­cern for Sayan Kaya’s agency. Turkey cur­rently hosts more than 3.5 mil­lion Syr­ian refugees, who she de­scribed as her coun­try’s “brothers and sis­ters.” Of them, 71 per­cent are women and chil­dren. “We have pro­vided their ba­sic needs like ed­u­ca­tion, health, food and shel­ter. We have used all our means avail­able to heal the deep wounds in­flicted on women and chil­dren by war, ter­ror­ism and mi­gra­tion. And we will con­tinue to do so,” she said.

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