Final Report of the Third International Women and Justice Summit

Final Declaration of the Third International Women and Justice Summit

The Third International Women and Justice Summit, which was jointly organized by the Ministry of Family; Labor and Social Services and the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), was held in Istanbul at Cevahir Convention Center from 23th to 24th of November, 2018. The Summit which was held with participation of our Dear President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, based on the theme of “Strengthening of the Family Institution”.

The summit was attended by ministers or deputy ministers from 9 countries, and a great number of academicians, researchers, authors, civil society representatives, journalists and volunteers from around twenty countries.

Following the official speeches and the session of leaders carried out on the first day, sessions in relation to the theme “Strengthening of the Family Institution”, which was the main theme of the summit, started on the second day. In addition to six sessions, “Kadem Speeches” addressing the same problem were made.

The following themes were addressed in the sessions which took place during the summit: Threats and Opportunities Awaiting the Family in the Modern World, To a Better Balance between  Work and Family, Religion as the Unifying Power of Family, Effect of Media on Family Dynamics , Domestic Violence and Abuse as a Threat Impairing the Unity of Family, and Effect of Conflicts and Poverty on Family .

The following considerations were identified as the general tendency during Third International Women and Justice Summit:

  1. Family has been the major and most significant institution of social life throughout human history. Family is the institution which allows us to gain our personality, belief,  identity and main character. Family is the institution which allows the individual to socialize, and thus, turns him/her into a social being in the real sense. From this aspect, family has maintained its importance throughout history, and will continue to do so as long as the social life is maintained.
  2. Family is one of the institutions which have undergone most change as a result of the modernization process.  In modern societies, family has undergone change with regard to its structure, relationships and values. The kinship and neighborhood relationships and the culture of solidarity which were powerful in traditional society are gradually weakening in modern societies as a result of factors such as migrations and concentration in cities as well as individualization and change of roles.   In this respect, policies for protection of the family structure and development of powerful family relationships are needed more than ever.
  3. Migration, terrorism, violence, conflict, poverty, bad habits and the problem of divorce which arise in consequence of all these, result in the fragmentation of families around the world. A fragmented family causes both deep traumas and harms the psychology of individuals and leads to depression and disintegration in social life. In this respect, policies aimed at ensuring the integrity, union and solidarity of the family is of great importance.
  4. Uncontrolled and inattentive use of the developments in media and communication technology has adverse effects on family members, children in particular.  However, many developments in relation to technology and media may also be used as an opportunity to reach out to the new generation and to strengthen the intergeneration relationships. It is the responsibility of all of us to reconsider the printed, visual and social media in such a way that strengthens the domestic relationships and to have an attentive publishing and broadcasting policy.
  5. In addition to the policies developed by the government, the relationship between family members is of great importance in ensuring the unity of the family. Unity and happiness of the family are based on mutual love and respect as well as values such as self-devotion, loyalty, self-sacrifice, toleration, compassion and mercy. Protection by spouses of each other based on principles such as equity and justice is of great importance for strong family bonds and family unity.
  6. Religious and spiritual values have a very functional role in ensuring the family unity. Religions both strengthen the family bonds by playing a favorable role in establishing relationships based on mutual love and respect and rights and obligations, in developing the sense of social cooperation and solidarity and in maintaining the values such as loyalty and fidelity, and make the social structure robust and powerful. From this point of view, we consider that it necessary to give religious and spiritual support as a solution to family problems.
  7. Participation of women in business and social and political life must not be perceived as a threat against the structure and unity of family. From the perception that a woman who is strong in all aspects plays a great role in maintaining a strong family, and a strong family constitutes a strong society, policies which facilitate the work-family balance for women must be implemented. In addition to this, responsibilities regarding the family must not be assigned only to women; men must also be raised and trained in a way to assume responsibilities associated with the family.
  8. Violence against women is both an attack to the rights, dignity and personality of women, and a sociological disease threatening the unity and structure of family. We regard violence against women as a crime against humanity, and we believe that multi-dimensional fights against this are necessary. We think that, we must strive to prevent violence as a social and political movement, and the government as well as political parties, media and non-governmental organizations must assume responsibility in this respect.
  9. Poverty is one of the significant social facts which is adversely affecting the family structure. Financial difficulty, housing problem, poor nutrition and problems faced to receive education and health benefits not only remain within the walls of the family, but also cause significant social problems. In the fight against poverty, the social policies developed by states are very significant. In this context, the steps taken by Turkey in the last five years are remarkable.
  10. The adverse effect of wars and clashes first of all affect the family. Wars cause families to disintegrate by scattering the family members to different places or displacing them. In this context, millions of Syrians are facing the most terrible aspect of war. We would like to point out that, we are expecting the international organizations and states which have the power to influence this system to find a solution to the humanitarian plight of Syria based on justice and equity.
  11. Organizing the cities and living spaces in a way that meets the needs of family members and to enable them to live in humanitarian conditions, is of great importance. Planning the streets and avenues in cities in a women and children-friendly manner, and providing the family members with parks, gardens and sports infrastructure facilities, are of great importance in this context.
  12. Like in various places in the world, one of the significant problems awaiting Turkey in the future will be elderly care. Thanks to the existing strong family and kinship ties as well as the supports provided by the government, elders are currently living together with the family to a large extent. However, with the widespread of factors such as urbanization, family disintegration, individualization and weakening of kinship and family ties, elderly care has the potential to turn into a social issue. In this respect, we deem it beneficial to make the policies in this area permanent.

Respectfully submitted to the information of the public.

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