61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings were held with the main theme of “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” between March 13 to 24, 2017. During the meetings and panel discussions, mainly the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls were discussed.
Having a special consultancy status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council, KAGİDER has been attending to the meetings held within the United Nations since 2011 and presents one of its successful projects that is being implemented as a “Good Practice from Turkey” relevant to the primary theme.
Therefore, as KAGİDER Delegation, we were at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City between March 11 and 18, 2017 to attend the sessions organized within the context of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) and to present our significant project in line with the main theme, “Future’s Women Leaders” at the UN.
The detailed program that we followed and the events that we attended were as follows:
March 13,2017 As KAGİDER Delegation, we visited Consul General of New York, Mr. Ertan Yalçın at his office. We shared the details about our project, “Future’s Women Leaders” as well as talked about what KAGİDER has achieved in the past year through the project and activities both at the national and international levels.
March 13,2017 With the cooperation of Turkish Philanthropy Funds and KAGİDER, an interactive activity was held called “Strategic Conversation and Networking Luncheon” hosted by Burcu Mirza. Sanem Oktar, President of KAGİDER, explained the situation of women and girls in Turkey by revealing the statistical data regarding their employment and talked about the projects that KAGİDER has been conducted within the context of its vision and mission. Board Member of KAGİDER, Servisimin Cömert Birced made a speech in which she emphasized the importance of “Future’s Women Leaders Project” for the young women, their families, environment and Turkey in the light of the statistical data.
In the Luncheon, the founder of Turkish Philanthropy Funds Özlenen Kalav talked about the significance of philanthropy, the principles of Turkish Philanthropy Funds and the projects that the Funds had been carrying in the United States.
Idil Çakım, who develops marketing and communication strategies for the non-governmental organizations and the companies that are in S&P 500, and who has published a book entitled “ Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing: Online Strategies to Identify Influencers” in the United States, delivered a speech on artificial intelligence. She mentioned about a study conducted in the year 2016 which showed that men were more interested in artificial intelligence and emphasized that women should have also become more involved with that topic which would make even more contribution to the changing dynamics of both the work life and private life. She concluded that, thanks to technology, the opportunities have become endless and women should benefit from them more.
One of the first 500 successful lawyers and Partner of one of the first 100 successful law firms, Mehtap Cevher Conti, delivered information regarding the status of women lawyers in the United States and touched upon the point that although the graduation rates of women and men are equal in the field of law, the rate of women getting promotion and becoming able to gain shares from the profit is as low as 18%. She clarified that although in the first 2 years both women and men receive equal payment for the same work done, women are not being supported and offered equal opportunities as time passes. She talked about the importance of artificial intelligence which is actively being used in the law sector as well and stated that a job which can only be done by 10 lawyers is now getting done by 2 with the help of the artificial intelligence advancements.
Günay Aksoy, who works as Executive Manager at JP Morgan’s Corporate & Investment Bank, told her own inspirational success story and the project of Educ∞, which she has accomplished and which aims to teach English to the Turkish young women who suffer from financial difficulties. As per her story, as she was 12, her teacher offers her a language school to attend in the United States due to her special interest in learning English. However, her family does not let her go to the US due to her age so they send her brother instead. She said that she has faced with gender inequality at a very early time in her life, which led her to adopt a very different perspective of life so that she worked even harder, had a successful academic career and has been pursuing a career in Finance. Based on her story, she has formed her project, Educ∞, to break down the prejudice that will make young women disadvantaged at very early ages.
March 13,2017 As KAGİDER Delegation, we visited Permanent Representative of the United Nations Mr. Feridun Sinirlioğlu at his office. We shared the details about our project, “Future’s Women Leaders” as well as talked about what KAGİDER has achieved in the past year through the project and activities both at the national and international levels.
March 13,2017 As KAGİDER Delegation, we attended to the formal side event organized by the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy at the United Nations Headquarters entitled “Reconciliation of Work and Family Life: Restructuring the Leave and Work Patterns”. During the session, it was emphasized that the dynamics of both work life and family life have been rapidly changing due to the economic and social developments and therefore, Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy has adopted the mission of working by considering empowering the role of family and women at the first place.
March 14,2017 We met with Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Mrs. Fatma Betül Sayan and Permanent Representative of the United Nations Mr. Feridun Sinirlioğlu in order to talk about the details about our project, “Future’s Women Leaders” as well as talked about what KAGİDER has achieved in the past year through the project and activities both at the national and international levels.
March 15,2017 As KAGİDER Delegation, we attended the annual meeting of “Women’s Empowerment Principles” and listened to the good practice from different countries and sectors on the primary topic of “Accountable Success and Investing in Women and Young Women”. We felt very proud of the fact that every speaker who took the stage talked about our association, KAGİDER and or projects. We also took the floor and raised our opinions and gave examples from the successful projects that we have been implementing on the respective topic. Nur Ger was also present at the meetings as the spokesperson of WEPs.
March 16,2017 We organized a press conference at The Marmara Park Hotel within the context of CSW 61 meetings in which we came together with the representatives of Sanofi Turkey and presented detailed information about our project “Future’s Women Leaders”.
March 16,2017 We participated to the panel of “Connecting the Continents” which was organized jointly by UN Women New York and KAGİDER at the art gallery of “Pen+Brush” in which work of women artists have been exhibited. President Sanem Oktar and Board Member Servisimin Cömert Birced delivered their speeches as panelists. With the presence of almost 100 participants, the status of women entrepreneurs in both Turkey and the United States was the primary topic. In addition to this, the women entrepreneurs shared their own success stories. The significance of technology, its effectiveness in enabling access to information and the need for the women entrepreneurs to use social media and technology more in order to increase their knowledge and awareness were also underlined.
March 17,2017 As KAGİDER, we presented our successful project “Future’s Women Leaders” as “Good Practice from Turkey” within the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women meetings to the world at ONE United Nations Plaza where more than 60 participants attended. The event started with the opening speech of Meg Jones, Chief of the UN Women Economic Empowerment Department, where she emphasized the importance of women participation to the labor force and stated that she is closely monitoring the work of KAGİDER and therefore, always looking for a closer cooperation in the near future. Human Resources Director of the corporate supporter of “Future’s Women Leaders”, Sanofi Turkey, Türkan Özcan and President of KAGİDER, Sanem Oktar had their opening speeches afterwards. The panel consisted of 2 parts. The first part started with the speech of Board Member and Representative of Youth Strategies Department of KAGİDER, Servisimin Cömert Birced informed the participants about the details of our project “Future’s Women Leaders”. Member of KAGİDER, head of “Future’s Women Leaders” Project between the years 2010 and 2011 and one of the volunteer trainers of the project, Gülin Yücel had her presentation which demonstrated that “Future’s Women Leaders” Project supports the implementation of “Millenium Development Goals” of the United Nations. Member of KAGİDER and one of the volunteer trainers of the project, Seçil Şendağ shared her experiences on being a volunteer trainer as well as meeting one of the graduates from “Future’s Women Leaders” project, Sara Demirel. In the second part of the panel, Dilara Fırat, Communications Coordinator and Corporate Social Responsibility Projects Manager at Sanofi Turkey, talked about how it feels like to be a part of this project as a young woman. Graduates from the “Future’s Women Leaders” Project, Selin Taftaf (2016), Begüm Öder (2010) and Meltem Karaarslan (2010) shared their own stories with the participants and talked about how they joined the project, what they have learned during the training sessions and how becoming a part of this project has changed their career paths, perspectives and visions of life for the better.
We are thankful for the members of the whole “Future’s Women Leaders” team, who have been supporting the project for 7 years with their all hearts and endless efforts, for their outstanding representation of our project which has affected all of the participants at the United Nations.
March 17,2017 TurkofAmerica (TOA) magazine, which is being published in the United States targeting the business world, chose 40 most influentiaal young people under the age of 40. As KAGİDER Delegation, we attended to the award ceremony, which was organized by TOA Consultancy Firm at Marriot Marquis Hotel at Times Square, with the main sponsorships of The Turkey-US Business Council and Turkish Philanthropy Funds. Board Member of KAGİDER, Emine Perviz Erdem, delivered her speech as an honored guest.