Message of The Director
Women have been engaged in a struggle for freedom, equality and justice in the society ever since late 18th century. However, even today in the 21st century, they still have to suffer physical, sexual, emotional, and economic violence as well as having to face serious challenges in their attempt to participate in business life, to get equal pay for equal work, to be promoted to managerial positions, to become employers, to be elected in politics and to exercise their civil rights.
In our country where women account for half the total population, the rate of female participation in economic activities is 26%. It is obvious that further steps should be taken in order to ensure that women have equal rights with men in the workplace in addition to increasing the rate of 26%. On the other hand, four out of every ten women in our country suffer physical or sexual violence. Child brides constitute another important problem. Girls should be given the opportunity to complete their education process, acquire a job and become mothers at an age when they get conscious and mature enough and both spiritually and materially ready to fulfill the responsibilities of mothering. Doubtlessly, there is a long way to go in order to reach that goal in Turkey.
The formation of a socio-cultural structure which would enable both women and men to make choices free from the confines imposed by the established notions of gender is possible only if gender equality is internalized by the whole society. Gender equality is not only the basis of social and economic stability and justice but also the prerequisite of economic development. That is why each and every step taken towards the aim of maintaining gender equality is of utmost importance and education is the most crucial tool in reaching that goal. The education required to develop egalitarian attitudes that could replace the traditional stereotypical behaviours perpetuating inequality in the society should start in the family and continue in every step of the training process of an individual. For training efforts in the family to be successful, an awareness regarding gender equality should first of all be raised within the family.
Thus, all the efforts geared towards establishing gender equality in our country by means of education and developing the required teaching material and curricula are invaluable. It is possible to maintain a pro-gender equality mentality only through the effective implementation of different projects in the short, middle and long run.
Universities have an important mission in terms of developing such projects. The researches carried out and the projects subsequently developed by academicians working in different fields in order to determine and eliminate the causes of the barriers impeding gender equality in the society will no doubt produce significant results.
Under the leadership of our Rector, Marmara University Center for Women’s Studies (ESKAR) was established on July 21, 2016, when its by-law was published in the Official Journal.
I invite all the academicians from different disciplines in our University – female or male- who have carried out or are willing to carry out research on women and gender equality to cooperate with our Center so that our University can engage in activities that will benefit the whole society.I believe our Center can attain its goals only if men are also involved in such activities directly or indirectly.