We are calling on all political parties in Turkey
From this day onward, we, as women, want local governments that ensure women’s participation as equal partners in all decisions and policies which directly affect our lives!
In Turkey, representation and participation of women in local administrations is far from being equal. Out of 2950 mayors, only 28 are women. Municipal councils have so far allowed for a meagre 4% female representation. On a national scale, those municipalities which have taken into account women’s rights and diversity concerns and targeting gender equality as integral part of their local development policies, is like a ‘drop in the bucket’. Despite this adverse profile, there were not so many efforts made anywhere for increasing women’s equal participation, since the last local elections were held. In addition, there were not many adequate initiatives undertaken to overcome the barriers that have prevented the development of new mechanisms supporting women’s equal participation in local processes. We do not want to see only pilot implementations here and there towards this end either. In fact, what we need to see is more municipalities that have fully integrated the principles of gender equality as their underlying governance policy and politics.
It needs to be fully understood that we have no say in any of the ongoing urban planning processes; no say in defining our needs for transportation systems; no voice in decisions regarding what the proportion of parks, gardens and green areas should be, and, which streets should be lighthened up. We have no say in decisions that determine where and how many child care centers or open bazaars should be opened. Finally, we have no say whatsoever on how local resources are spent and which municipal services should be allocated funds on a priority basis. In other words, we are not in a position to determine what kind of a city or an environment we want to live in, thus, can not contribute to changes at local and individual life levels.
We have no voice, no authority, no place in decisions that directly affect our lives and daily living. We are surely tired of this situation and wish to express herewith that we have had enough of local politics that continue to disregard women. We want a voice in the governing of our homes, our communities, and, our cities. What can democracy be other than this?
We are ,thus,watching all political parties.
We are, and, will be carefully monitoring political party approaches, attitudes, and, their promises made throughout the local election processes, at all levels. We will reveal publicly those political parties that do not take women into account and those that turn their backs to gender equality issues.
We shall also make public all the steps taken and/or not taken by the local governments towards gender equality and to increasing freedoms. We are noting down carefully if political parties are identifying any new mechanisms that would be directed to facilitate female candidature, their eventual election, well as on how many females in each of the election locations are identified as candidates and placed in the upper ranks of respective party candidate lists.
We shall be watching carefully all political party programs, their suggestions, offerings and promises, and, on the extent of space they are allowing for new and innovative programmes that support gender equality, women’s participation rights, andminimizing barriers that prevent women, and others also discriminated against, from effective participation in the society.
Furthermore, we shall be watching carefully if and to what degree the political party programmes take women’s criticisms and demands into account along with effective and sustainable approaches, in place. We shall also monitor these programmes to see if they are fully cleared up from all possible discriminating, externalizing and gender-biased elements.
All of these, we will share with the public through a ‘Political Party Scorecard’ system which we are now starting.
Beware all political parties and their leaders, Women’s Coalition has an eye on you ! Women’s Coalition is watching you!
Long live our struggle for local politics that is based on equality and freedoms!