KADEM Held Side-Events at 65th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

14- 26 March 2021, Virtual NGO CSW Forum

KADEM is participating in United Nations Commission on the Status of Women organized in New York on the occasion of 8 March Women’s Day every year and holding side events for the last 7 years.

Unfortunately, although all the preparations were made last year, all parallel activities were canceled due to the pandemic that broke out in March 2019. This year, the NGO CSW65 Forum was entirely virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

KADEM, participated in the virtual forum this year with two side events.

Through the Pandemic Perspective: Women’s New Normals in Turkey

The first side-event on 22 March, “Through the Pandemic Perspective: Women’s New Normals in Turkey” moderated by KADEM Board Member Melek Cevahiroğlu Ömür, started with the opening speech of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services of Republic of Turkey Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk.

In the panel where Vice Chairperson of KADEM Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar and Member of the Board Lawyer Derya Yanık participated as speakers, the new normals of the women after the pandemic were discussed. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and families were discussed in legal, psychological, and social aspects.

On the question about protection of women’s work and home life balance, Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar mentioned about gender justice concept to preserve this balance.

“The composition of the Gender Justice concept is very valuable in serving to identify problems and prevent injustices. As you know, the concept of gender justice expresses the roles and duties with which the community and culture charge on women and men. The roles and definitions given to women and men in society are not always fair or worthy of human dignity; they can cause grievance. The concept of Gender justice advocates that gender-based social expectations and role distributions should be based on equality, justice and equity. What is targeted here is not merely equality, but to bring to life “EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES” that would eliminate the existing injustice while offering both sides equality in opportunities.

If we are able to establish gender justice within the family, work-life and every aspect of social life, we will not discuss women’s achievement of a work-life balance merely as a matter concerning women. Establishing and maintaining work-life balance is considered as a problem that is shared, and attempted to be solved, by women and men together.”

Unfortunately, one of the most striking problems faced by women during the pandemic was the increase in the risk of being exposed to violence. The United Nations Women Unit announced that the increase in domestic violence after Covid-19, which is defined as the “Shadow Pandemic”, was at least 25 percent, although it has not been precisely determined yet. In this context, legal issues were also highlighted in the panel.

KADEM Board Member Derya Yanık mentioned legal supports and judicial remedies have been provided to women in Turkey who have been subjected to violence during the pandemic period.

In addition, as an NGO, KADEM’s activities and opinions in order to overcome the negative effects of this process on women in the least harmful way were mentioned. Lastly, during the panel, the results of the 7th Gender Justice Congress on “Women in the Pandemic Process” held on March 5, were also shared.

A Mother’s Outcry: Supporting Disadvantaged Women through an Inclusive NGO Model

KADEM’s projects and supports for disadvantaged women were explained on second side-event named “A Mother’s Outcry: Supporting Disadvantaged Women through an Inclusive NGO Model”on March 25.

At the conference Saliha Okur Gümrükçüoğlu, Chairwoman of the Board of KADEM, summarized the projects of KADEM aiming to provide opportunities for disadvantaged women and the ongoing activities for the construction of a peaceful society.

In her speech, Gümrükçüoğlu primarily talked about the gender justice approach of KADEM and the difference of this approach from absolute equality. She also mentioned the activities carried out with 50 representative offices throughout Turkey.

The presence of KADEM, which has reached a total of 300 thousand women with the activities it has carried out through its representative agencies, has turned into an unforgettable memory for some. One of these true stories, the “Atonement Girl” story of Hatice Yakut, was presented during the event.

Then, KADEM’s views on work-life balance and its importance were shared, and the video of the Women in Innovation Project, one of the projects implemented in order to support the entrepreneurship skills of women in business life, was shown.

Following the explanation of what KADEM refers to with the expression of work-life balance, the struggle of Diyarbakir Mothers, another disadvantaged group that KADEM supports in the field, was expressed. The sit-in protest of parents whose children were kidnapped by the PKK terrorist organization was conveyed to the whole world with the video screening of the families.

Gümrükçüoglu highlighted this as “downright child trafficking” and reminded that countries that support these terrorist organizations contribute to the persecution of women and humanity.