The Women and Democracy Foundation (KADEM) held a panel during the 68th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York from March 11 to 22, 2024. Dr. Saliha Okur Gümrükçüoğlu, Chair of the Executive Board of KADEM, shared insights into the operations of centers in Istanbul and earthquake-affected regions during the opening speech. The panelists emphasized examples of good practices.

KADEM’s signature project, the Women’s Support Center model, which focuses on the comprehensive empowerment of women, was presented within the framework of the NGO CSW/NY in an event titled “Walking Together For Holistic Wellbeing: Alternative Practices From Women’s Centers.” The parallel session unfolded on March 12 at Türkevi, shedding light on alternative practices from women’s centers aimed at fostering holistic well-being.


The panel, initiated with an opening speech by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Saliha Okur Gümrükçüoğlu, Chair of the Executive Board of KADEM, attracted representatives from women’s support centers and shelters worldwide. During the panel, the discussion covered not only centers supporting disadvantaged women but also highlighted KADEM Women’s Support Centers as one of the prime examples of best practices.

In her speech, KADEM Chair Gümrükçüoğlu indicated that the Women’s Support Centers became operational in 2022. She mentioned, “The project aims to support the economic and social transformation of women aged 15-29 who are NEET, meaning ‘Not in Education, Employment, or Training.’ Women who find themselves in the NEET category, feeling isolated and in need of support, can reach out to our center. Women can come here to find answers to their questions and seek support in any area where they have needs. In our centers, we have professional teams consisting of psychologists and social work experts.” Providing detailed information about the functioning of the center, Gümrükçüoğlu stated that they have served 2517 women only at the Women’s Support Center in Istanbul.

Addressing the earthquake on February 6th in her opening speech, KADEM Chair Gümrükçüoğlu stated, “In the third week after the earthquake, we opened Women’s Support Centers in Adıyaman, Hatay, and Kahramanmaraş. We provided guidance to women who, after the earthquake, were unsure of what to do or where to seek help. We organized courses, activities, and training sessions for women and children. Through the Women’s Support Centers in the earthquake-stricken areas, we reached 372 individuals through psycho-educational sessions and group activities. In the scope of rehabilitation activities, we reached 475 individuals through organized courses. We also provided employment-oriented training to 50 women. In total, with the Women’s Support Centers we opened in the earthquake-stricken areas, we provided services to nearly 6,000 women in one year.


The panel, moderated by KADEM Board Member Dr. Assistant Prof. Nursem Keskin Aksay, featured speakers from various women’s support centers and organizations to discuss best practices. Lil Corcoran represented Women’s Rights Information Center in New Jersey, Jean Fisher represented Faces of Hope, Amna Rumaisa represented Women Welfare Organisation, Rana Abdelhamid represented Malikah, and Aslıhan Nişancı represented KADEM from Türkiye.

Nursem Keskin Aksay, in her speech, stated, “The purpose of today’s program organized by KADEM is to explain our alternative women’s support center model and to address the complex parameters of the challenges women face in different aspects of life and holistic well-being opportunities with various examples from around the world.”

Project consultant for the Women’s Support Center, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aslıhan Nişancı, described the comprehensive, inclusive, and innovative case management processes implemented by KADEM’s Women’s Support Centers. She stated, “We not only support women in Istanbul and earthquake-affected areas but also accompany them throughout the empowerment process, making this unique journey more accessible for women.”

KADEM initiated its observer participation process with the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2014 and has been actively involved as an event organizer since 2015. This year, KADEM is participating in the UN sessions with two events: one focusing on Women’s Support Centers and the other addressing the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

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