International Women’s Day Message From Güler Sabancı, Chairman of Sabancı Holding



Guler Sabanci 121243-300x300Sabancı Holding Chairman Güler Sabancı, sent out the following message for the International Women’s Day.

"Today is not only a day to celebrate but also an opportunity to remember once more the importance of women who shape all aspects of life. After 1970’s there has been a significant increase in women's participation in working life. Of course, there have been improvements, we cannot deny that. But unfortunately there still remains a long way to go. On the other hand, the rise of women’s participation in business life should not be considered by figures only. We should also take into consideration their qualitative contributions and the value they add to corporate life. Today, the presence of women in corporate life is not a ‘choice’; it is a ‘must’ on the road to success.

Success oriented organizations and economies in larger scale should discover and take advantage of the women potential from creativity to decision making skills. Recent researches show that women’s participation in corporate life is inevitable. Because, the more women integrate in corporate life, in universities, in civil society, the more researches become meaningful. And only then it is possible to carry out more concrete and in-depth studies beyond the projections.

According to the recent report, Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance in terms of return on equity, return on sales, and return on invested capital. A recent Credit Suisse Research Institute study suggests, companies with gender diversity had recovered better after the 2008 crisis in relative to male-led companies. There might be various causes for the findings. Some experts say women manage risk better. Some explain it with women’s multitasking skills. Women tend to be better at collaborative work model. They are more open to get advice or include others to the decision making process. On the other hand women make 70% of all buying decisions in EU and 80% in the US. Therefore it is significant that women in business life understand women needs better and provide products and services accordingly. This all sums up to one final conclusion: “economic development is not possible without women’s participation.”


Sabancı continued: "As we always say, we do not want privilege; we want 'equality'. We want women to be treated and evaluated equally, based on their qualities, skills and capacities. However to be able to level the playing field, we need equality of opportunities for women and support them. Raising them with self-confidence and self-belief as well as providing women’s right to education are crucial. Today, women’s participation in workforce is around 30%.

According to World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report, only 13% of women work in top-level positions in Turkey. If we seek economic and social growth, we cannot settle for such results. We need to make fast reforms in terms of gender equality for a better future in every field and we need to unveil women's potential.”


Defining the Sabancı Group’s approach on gender equality, Güler Sabancı continued: “Sabancı Group is a ’model’ and ‘pioneer’ regarding gender equality. Women employees make 38.5% of our total workforce. We are proud to say that women employees constitute over 50% of some of our companies’ workforce, high above Turkey’s average employment rate of women. This is what our company is about! Moreover our representation of women on our boards increased from to 15%, which was 7% in 2012. Women’s promotion rate is 52%. I believe projects of ‘Sabancı Volunteers’, thanks to your efforts and diligence, will accelerate our position as a pioneer.

As Sabancı Foundation, we have active programs to support women. We believe that a cooperative joint action is the only solution, that’s why we strive to provide solutions to a wide range of problems of various social layers. Sabancı Foundation believes in the importance of the women participation in economy, political and social lives as well as the equality of educational opportunities for girls for the country’s development. Between 2006 and 2015, we joined to the ‘United Nations Joint Program’ with cooperation of Ministry of Internal Affairs and United Nations. We have a grant program since 2010 to support non-governmental organizations working to end child marriage and raise awareness for this issue in 54 cities. We fight against child marriage on a global scale. We aim to contribute to social development through our works all over the country and we strive to provide long-term solutions to support equality of educational opportunities for girls. We built 20 dormitories in 17 cities.

The solution of women’s problems is primarily to generate a mentality transformation. This transformation begins with the understanding of the positive impact of women on corporate life from efficiency to innovation. I’d like to emphasize what I said before: the presence of women in corporate life is not a ‘choice’; it is a ‘must’. This is not a preference, privilege or a matter of equality, but it is an 'obligation'. Enabling women’s participation is the right business decision”