Women and Democracy Association

 "Without women's participation, there will be no inclusive or sustainable economic growth.

We believe that women have become a driving force for economic growth and we cannot ignore half of the population. At this point, we need gender inclusive approaches to include more women in labor force and to achieve sustainable growth."

The Turkish Women and Democracy Association, known as KADEM, is an NGO that supports human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women. We believe that men and women complement each another and that we need gender-inclusive approaches to involve more women in the workforce and achieve sustainable growth. 

Through our work, we aim to promote equal opportunities and to increase the number of women contributing to our political, social and economic systems.

Examples of policies and initiatives to support gender equality

1. The Women-20 project

The Women 20 (W20) project was launched under Turkey’s presidency of the G20 global government forum in 2015. Its aim is to support gender-inclusive economic growth by:

- promoting women’s participation in the workforce

- eliminating the gender-based wage gap

- supporting female entrepreneurship

- helping women achieve leadership positions.

KADEM is a member of the W20 organization committee, along with two other Turkish NGOs: the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER) and the Turkish Businesswomen Association (TİKAD).

2. Researching women’s experience in the service industry

One example of KADEM’s in-depth research is its project entitled Problems of women working in the service industry and obstacles to their promotion”. The 17-month study involves:

- an analysis of the administrative structure of public and private institutions

- in-depth interviews with 2,040 women who work in different positions at these institutions

- in-depth interviews with administrative officers in seven cities

- focus groups with women executives in different sector.

The project is supported by the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) and the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies.

3.  Women in Innovation project 

KADEM’s Women in Innovation project helped women transform their ideas into solid business plans and gave them the tools they need to become successful entrepreneurs.

From 400 applicants, 30 women were chosen to take part in the initial training, in which 21 mentors from different fields shared their expertise in entrepreneurship, business models, investment, financial support, branding, and business communication. The mentors then chose ten women to receive further training in project implementation and the successful entrepreneurs’ ideas were broadcast on Turkish television channel 360 TV.

The project was implemented in cooperation with Marmara University Techno-Park, which is affiliated to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.

4. Addressing the problem of mobbing

In 2015, KADEM organized a workshop in collaboration with the Women Administrators and Employees Mutual Relief Association (KAYÇAD). The aim was to discuss the issue of “mobbing” – defined as psychological or emotional harassment of an individual. Women in the workplace, for example, might experience mobbing from their employers.

Workshop participants discussed possible solutions to the problem, looking at steps to prevent mobbing and the role of government.

5. Fostering women’s participation in economic life

In 2015, KADEM board member Sezen Güngör, attended the Fostering Women’s Participation in Economic Life conference. The conference, organized by Union for the Mediterranean. sought to determine the main obstacles to women’s economic participation and to identify ways to allow women to become equally involved in economic life.

Conference sessions looked at opportunities for women in the ICT sector, the social and solidarity economy and the green economy, as well as focusing on the role of the media.

6. An insight into the socioeconomic, political and cultural situation of women in Turkey

KADEM conducted a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 women in 2014, with the aim of identifying the sociocultural situation of women. It assessed women’s participation in politics, the factors that affect their political preferences, and their approaches to different issues. The research took place in 26 provinces, with districts, streets, households and offices randomly chosen to take part.

7. Employment and training for the future

KADEM’s young women employment and training project provides career training and psychological and social support for for disadvantaged 17- to 18-year-olds. The aim is to help these young women participate fully in the economy and society.

The project is supported by the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Family and Social Policies, the Turkish Labour Agency and the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce.

More information here