Soroptimists advocating for Gender Equality

Ulla Madsen, Soroptimist International Assistant Director Advocacy 2020-2021 reports from the International Conference on Gender Equality, Istanbul, Turkey.

“It was with excitement that I received an invitation from President Melek Berkem to be a keynote speaker at the conference organised by SI Etiler Club 15 November 2019. My topic was ‘Gender Equality in Denmark with special reference to parental leave model’.

The conference was a part of a European Union-funded project, Soroptimists Advocate Gender Equality (SAGE) in Work. Best practices from various countries were shared as well as valuable insights for progresses to ‘bridge the glass cliff’.

SAGE in Work consists of three main parts:

(1) ChangEquality at Work Events and its Ambassador Programme aiming to enlighten both male and female university students. Club Etiler has successfully managed to reach out to nearly 300 university students with the ChangEquality at Work Events;

(2) Gender Equality Mentorship Programme aims to enhance and strengthen women on possible obstacles faced in work. Necessary mentorship training has been provided and a structured Gender Equality Mentorship programme is being implemented with 25 mentoring pairs. These results were presented by Club Programme Director Z. Güi Üstün;

(3) Women Bridging Glass Cliff: International conference of Gender Equality in Working Life. The aim of the conference was to build a better understanding of work, money and power domains of gender equality. To create a roadmap with the assistance and guidance of expert speakers, and be a platform to gather global and local business and professional women with ministries, universities, municipalities, and CSOs, whilst helping to establish and/or improve networks, exchange experiences, build new partnerships and develop common strategies to cope with inequalities.

Topics varied from ‘Opportunities and Threats of Digitalization in Business from the Gender Perspective’, Ufuk Tarhan, Futurist, Economist, ‘Equal Opportunities Model: A Gender Equality Certification’, Emine Erdem, Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey, Past President SI Turkey, to a panellist discussion ‘Bridging the Glass Cliff’ with esteemed speakers from Universities and private sector moderated by Prof. Dr. Inci Artan.

Specially invited Soroptimists from Europe and Africa contributed as speakers during the conference. A welcome was given by Soroptimist International of Europe (SIE) President Anna Wszelaczynska and  Soroptimist International of Europe President-Elect Carolien Demey, Belgium, SIE Secretary-General Hafdis Karlsdottir, Iceland, Elisabeth Nyadwe, Special Assignment Advocacy, Kenya and Appoline Kangabire, Governor, Rwanda appeared as panellists at ‘Enlightening Best Practices’.

As we know no country has yet achieved gender equality even though some countries have made significant progress due to initiatives by governments, Civil Society Organisations, and businesses. I would like to highlight the positives – Rwanda’s parliament consists of 61% of women and that Iceland is the first country in the world to enforce equal pay!

Congratulations to President Melek Berkem, President SI Turkey Dr. Nur Kavuncu, and the whole team behind the TOP successful and well-organized conference which really gave us an important update on how far we are and how much work we still need to do to achieve gender equality.”

For further information please contact the Ulla Madsen HERE

1 comment

  1. Rodica Maciuca 3 years ago 7th January 2020

    Yes, it was a very interesting conference!
    Congratulations to the organizers and all those who participated actively in this conference.
    From the SI Club Brasov – Romania, we were four participants , we learned a lot and we were happy to meet older soroptimist friends and make new friends, to enjoy together.


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