"Many countries in this world hold the responsibility for enforcing and implementing legal amendments to entirely abolish discrimination against women. But male-dominated governments do not want to give up their privileges and do not put any effort into this matter. It is our duty to point to these governments", explained Özden Yalçın who came from the Netherlands to participate in the meeting.
Women associations and rights organizations from European and Mediterranean countries met in Istanbul last weekend under the umbrella organization of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) for an effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It was discussed to what extend the action plan presented to governments in 2006 has been implemented so far.
In her speech Reyhan Yalçındağ drew attention to the fact that Turkey is not any different from the general picture and that women rights have not been carried to the top of the government's agenda.
The women emphasised a lack of effective implementation and also a lack of delivery of promised results since 2006, when the Istanbul Plan of Action (IPA) was presented to the countries' ministers.
It was criticised that governments are reluctant to implement the action plan. After campaigns in Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Algeria and Egypt some positive developments could be observed for the acceptance of a few articles mentioned in CEDAW. However, governments of Mediterranean and Middle East countries in particular do not draw alongside legal amendments proposing local and cultural sensitivities.
For European countries it was stressed that discrimination concerning professional life and violence has continued despite corresponding legal applications. Males dominate some professions, 70 percent of all women in France are working part-time for instance; equal work is not paid equally and obstacles occur for women to climb up the career ladder.
Women call the ministers
In the Istanbul meeting the women worked out a list of proposals for a meeting with European and Mediterranean ministers to be held in Morocco in the middle of November under the subject of "Strengthening the role of women in society". The following demands are going to be suggested:
- Assurance of applications on gender equality and women rights plans
- Withdrawal of reservations on CEDAW
- Guarantee of the right to citizenship for all women and migrant women in particular; taking action to strengthen their economic situations.
- Women organizations and the civil society as active partners and establishing interoperable mechanisms for the implementation of the IPA's applications.
'Turkey did hardly advance'
According to Human Rights Foundation member Yalçındağ, since 2006 Turkey did hardly advance in improving gender-based equality regarding issues such as the women's status, employment, social security, representation in elected and appointed agencies.
Yalçındağ acknowledged that a few amendments have been made regarding violence against women. Nevertheless, masculine domination is ruling every aspect of life and progress of the issues in the applications is blocked. (ÖG/EÜ/VK)