- IN THE OPENING SPEECH OF THE SUMMIT, GULER SABANCI, CHAIR OF THE SABANCI FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES: “WOMEN DO NOT WANT ‘PRIVILEGES’, THEY WANT EQUALITY WHICH IS THEIR RIGHT.”
- GULER SABANCI: “IN OUR WORK, WE HAVE PRIORITIZED GIRLS’ ACCESS TO RIGHT TO EDUCATION.”
- SABANCI: “SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT CANNOT BE SUSTAINABLE IN A ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF AN INDIVIDUAL ARE NOT PRIORITIZED AND WHERE THERE IS NO PROPERLY FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY”
- SABANCI: “FREEDOM OF PRESS IS INDISPENSABLE FOR A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY.”
G(irls)20 2015 Summit for which Sabanci Foundation was the main sponsor commenced in Istanbul. G(irls)20 Delegates were present in the summit whose focus is to increase the participation of women in the labor market. G(irls)20 Delegates after whom the summit is named will invite G20 leaders to keep their promise of integrating over 100 million women in the labor market by 2025.
“The greatest obstacle is that men and women are not perceived as equals”
Stating that 21st century is the century of women, Guler Sabanci, Chairman of the Sabanci Foundation Board of Trustees, said in her opening speech that “The greatest obstacle today before women’s participation in economic life is the fact that men and women are not perceived as equals.” Unless we break that perception in society, we will not see women in politics and business world. In order for women to participate in economic life, women and men should be equal. This is not a privilege, this is a right. Women do not want ‘privileges’, they want ‘equality’. Therefore in our work at Sabanci Foundation we try to ‘get to the root of the issue’.”
Emphasizing that Sabanci Foundation has focused on women and girls especially in the last decade, Ms. Sabanci stated that “We implemented programs with public bodies, local authorities and NGOs on this matter.” United Nations Joint Program (UNJP) is one of these programs. We carried out two joint programs with the UN institutions in the last decade. Generally, programs with so many stakeholders are not easy to carry out. However, we have to work together for social development. Within the scope of our joint programs, we worked to increase local awareness about gender equality and ensure the implementation of local services with this awareness.”
Drawing attention to the “Leyla” song which is one of the projects supported by Sabanci Foundation and which reached all parts of Turkey through art and raised awareness on early marriages, Guler Sabanci stated that “Early and forced marriages are not only Turkey’s problem, but a global issue. Preventing or minimizing early marriages means ensuring that individuals are at least 18 years of age and have their legal rights. At least, we need to achieve that.”
“Social development is only possible with the equal participation of women in the society”
Emphasizing the support provided by the Foundation in the field of women, Ms. Sabanci added that “With the work we have carried out, we have contributed to girls’ access to education, strengthening of women’s role in business life, and empowering women in politics and all parts of life. I believe social development is only possible with the equal participation of women in society.”
Guler Sabanci also stated that “We dream of a world where men and women are equal in order for social and economic development. This dream is not far away anymore. To ensure women’s participation in the labor market, we should first ensure girls’ access to education and support and develop women’s role in society all around the world. All studies and developments, the world we live in and the communication among us give us courage. I look at the progress we have made. I look at Girls 20. I believe that in the next 6 months we will surpass the progress we have made in the last 6 years. We should share with each other; we will be stronger when we share.”
Ms. Sabanci added that “Another important component of social development is the issue of democracy and freedoms. Social development cannot be sustainable in an environment where the rights and freedoms of an individual are not prioritized and there is no properly functioning democracy. The freedom of press is indispensable for social development and a healthy democracy.”
In the G(irls)20 Summit, speakers from Turkey and all around the world came together. Leaders from OECD, Carlson-Rezidor, World Economic Forum, FBI, Korn Ferry, IFC, RMK Classic and other institutions were among the participants.
Some of the topics focused on in the global summit are “preparing women of today and future generations for sustainable and fair paying jobs”, “cultural, social and political barriers in front of employment” and “best practices proven to create jobs for women”.