ErdoÄŸan always favored women’s rights
By Hilal Kaplan
During the inauguration of the W20 Summit, ErdoÄŸan said: â€˜Any understanding that ostracizes women and does not observe justice between men and women means turning ones back on half of humanity.’
President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan’s struggle for women’s rights is insistently ignored. Arguments claiming that ErdoÄŸan wants to confine women to the house and that he pushes women to have three children are no more than superficial comments that are the outcomes of this ignorance. Indeed, some of ErdoÄŸan’s statements are divorced from their contexts and reported in an exaggerated way, and achievements in areas that are pioneered by ErdoÄŸan himself are never mentioned. The most important project in this field is the W20 Summit, which was initiated under the aegis of Turkey as this year’s G20 president. As a part of the G20 Summit, which brings together representatives from the world’s top-20 economies, this is a worthwhile initiative as it gathers active organizations for and of woman from these countries under the same umbrella and jointly addresses problems faced by women, particularly about their roles in business life.
The speech that ErdoÄŸan delivered during the inauguration of the W20 Summit was of great importance as it included his own evaluation of women’s position in society and revealed his views on it. I want to quote just a small part of his speech. He said: “Any understanding that ostracizes women and does not observe justice between men and women means turning its back on half of humanity.
Obviously, the objectives of sustainable and inclusive growth cannot be achieved in economies where women cannot take the positions they deserve in business life, actively participate in the labor force and have a say in production and management. Today, women’s participation in the labor force is 58 percent and that of men is 86 percent in G20 countries. As is seen, there is a major gap between them. Women’s participation in the workforce is the most important opportunity of us to achieve the growth we need. We have adopted an objective to reduce the gap between the male and female labor force participation rate by 25 percent around the world by 2025. As G20 president, we have pioneered various studies to actualize the goals cited in the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The founding of the W20 and the summit that we are holding today constitute an example of our efforts. For instance, female labor force participation in Turkey has risen to 32.3 percent from 23.3 percent in 2004. Today, the labor force participation rates of our newly graduated sons and daughters are almost equal. The rate of female entrepreneurs rose to 8 percent by June 2015 from 4.9 percent in 2004. Women were represented by 24 female deputies in Parliament in 2002 and this figure has reached 98 today, increasing more than four times. Certainly, we have never considered these figures adequate and will never consider them so. We are continuing our studies to ensure higher-level representation by women in all areas.”