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20-article package seeks solution to women’s rights issues
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 07 Mar 2011 Mon 04:28 am

20-article package seeks solution to women’s rights issues

A package of 20 articles has been suggested as a solution to problems faced by women as a result of a workshop on the issues of women in the media, women´s employment and violence against women ahead of tomorrow´s International Women´s Day.

The workshop was held by the Medialog Platform, an industry advocacy group connected to the İstanbul-based Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), and the Women´s Platform and took place on Saturday in Bolu. Representatives of the press and civil society organizations as well as State Minister for Family and Women´s Affairs Selma Aliye Kavaf were among the participants.

Women´s rights issues including underrepresentation in the media, discrimination against women in employment and violence against women were among the issues discussed during the workshop.

Encouraging women to take part in decision-making bodies, preventing discrimination against women in employment due to their religious, cultural or traditional lifestyles, establishing a mechanism reminiscent of the parliamentary Gender Equality Commission in media institutions and launching campaigns to raise awareness of the issue of gender discrimination are among the suggestions put forward in the package. Gender mainstreaming classes at all levels of education and putting an end to women’s representation as objects were also part of the package.

‘Men must be trained too for women to play a larger role in politics’

Kavaf has also said men are not ready for women to be actively involved in politics and that they must be educated to change their mindset as well. Speaking at the workshop, Kavaf said men must be trained as well to accept that women can be a part of politics.

“We bring trainers and launch education programs. The first election process [leading to the June 12 general elections] has begun and we want more women to be elected. But there we realized that we have forgotten to change men’s mindset. Men are not ready for women to be in this [political] field. An area of conflict was born. Then these training [programs] must be given to men as well; they need to transform, too,” she said.

Kavaf also talked about the issue of violence against women and said the media and the authorities have the duty to guide women in such cases. She noted that many women do not know the steps to take in the face of violence.

The state minister also presented data from a study carried out by the ministry’s General Directorate of the Status of Women. The study, conducted in 2007, looks into 1,400 news stories on women in four newspapers. The number of articles on the topic of policies to prevent domestic violence makes up only a small percentage. She also noted that there are 66 safe houses for women across the nation and 45 of them are owned by the ministry’s Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK).

Women objectified by media

State Minister Kavaf also highlighted that ignorance of women’s rights in the media or biased representation of women is a globally discussed matter. “The first thing to attract notice is that [stories about] women do not have a place on the first pages except for paparazzi news,” she said.

The minister noted that a Global Media Monitoring Project study in 2005 also concluded that women are largely ignored and underrepresented in the media. “The study put forward that women are present [as subjects] in the media about 21 percent of the time,” she said, and added that women are mostly represented as subjects by the paparazzi and art news, with a rate of around 25 percent.

She further highlighted that women’s objectification in the media is a serious human rights violation. Kavaf also added that women make up 30 percent of the people employed by newspapers and magazines, according to 2009 data on the media.

Free lawyers for women, children

The Ankara Bar Association and the SHÇEK will sign a protocol to pave the way for providing women and children in need with a lawyer free of charge, the Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday. The initiative aims to prevent domestic violence and support female and child victims. Under the protocol, women and children who are subject to domestic violence can apply to the Ankara Bar Association and the association will have the authority to take victims to SHÇEK officials with police officers.


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