Women and Justice Summit was realized in Istanbul between 24-25 November 2014 by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies and Women and Democracy Association. The Summit, to which ministers and vice-ministers from nine countries as well as academics, researchers, writers, journalists and non-governmental organization representatives from various countries attended, was commenced with the honoring of the President of the Republic.
During session held at the level of ministers, relevant countries’ policies on the woman, the family and women’s problems were evaluated, and during the other sessions, women’s problems were dealt with and discussed from different perspectives.
Topics discussed by the participants from several countries at the Women and Justice Summit from different perspectives include Women in Politics and Decision Making Mechanisms, Justice and Equality in the Context of Gender, Work Life and Gender, Abuse of Women in the Media, Cultural Codes and Gender as the Reason for Marginalization, Violence against Women, War Victim Immigrant and Refugee Women, and Women Trafficking.
For the concerned topics, below issues have been established as the general tendency of the Women and Justice Summit:
1. In the relationship between men and women, an approach considering equality for the rights, but justice for the distribution of the social obligations and roles is required. Equality ensured over the values of the dominant groups without considering the differences may result in to the detriment of the disadvantaged groups in some cases. It is a fact that today women do not have equal positions in the politics, decision making mechanisms and economic life with men, despite the policies followed through equality. A fair approach taking the women’s multidimensional victimhood into consideration is of a great importance in this sense.
2. In various parts of the world, women are behind the men not only in politics and decision making mechanisms, but also participation in the social life. Women’s inability to sufficiently take part in the politics and social life and decision making mechanisms may be due to several social, cultural and political obstacles, limited resources and limited opportunities. In this context, policies to ensure women’s getting their well deserved position in the political and social life and the decision making mechanisms are required.
3. Despite varying from one society to the other, women encounter with several problems in the business life. Working women have to resist the obligations arising from the traditional roles, as well as their obligations in the public space. This results in women’s getting behind in the business life, particularly when it comes to the upper levels. Problems such as discrimination, mobbing, low status jobs and low wages are some of the significant problems that the working woman encounters with in the business life.
4. On the basis of the problems experienced by the woman in various parts of the world, there lies their lack of access to educational opportunities. Development of the educational level has direct impacts on the business life, social and political participation, cultural activities and ways of self-realization. In this context, supporting and encouraging policies that stipulate women’s primary, secondary and high education are of great importance.
5. In several parts of the world, media commodifies and objectifies the woman, by turning the female body into a sexual object. Media presents a standard and ideal type and forces women to aspire this type on one hand, and it turns the woman into a sexual object, by marketing all consumed, marketed objects through the female body on the other.
6. Similarly, woman’s body is used as a sexual object in the advertising, promotion and marketing of all sectors, commodities and services, and therefore, is commodified. The perception produced and managed over the woman’s body renders the woman a consumption material and turns it into a sexual object. This means abuse of woman within the spiral of market and consumption.
7. Women are exposed to discrimination and excluded for several reasons all through the world. Women’s exposure to discrimination and exclusion is merely only due to their gender. Women are also exposed to discrimination and exclusion for several religious, ethnic, class and racial reasons. In some cases, women are oppressed, excluded and unjustly treated by some other women.
8. Violence is one of the important problem areas that the women face anywhere in the world. Violence against women is a multidimensional problem from psychological pressure, humiliation, sexual abuse and discrimination to abuse, beating and finally death. Women may be exposed to violence both at home and any field of the public space; on the street and at the workplace.
9. It is meaningful to hold the Justice Summit on November 25th, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day has to be used as an opportunity to raise awareness and consciousness for violence against women. However, it is important not to keep the struggle against violence against women limited to a single day, but to expand it to the entire year. Politicians’, administrators’, decision-makers’, non-governmental organizations’, medias’ and lastly society’s keeping this problem on the agenda and their struggle against it are important.
10. Acts of war and violence are experienced in several parts of the world, and as a result, many people are deterritorialized and rendered immigrants. The most important victims of war and violence are women and children, for sure. With their children, women become homeless, condemned to live under unhealthy environmental conditions, face health and nutrition problems and become unable to use the required educational and medical facilities. Within this context, it is highly important to draw attention of the international actors and institutions to the situation of over one and a half million Syrian immigrants, who found asylum in Turkey.
11. Women trafficking and human trafficking account for one of the dramatic dimensions of the violence women are exposed to. This problem also has a global dimension. Women trafficking is a spiral of victimhood that women engage in usually against their own will. Women fall into the hands of human traffickers by being abducted or deceived, and forced to work. It is an ethical requirement to struggle against this problem by the entire society, in addition to the public institutions and organizations.
12. In today’s world, women continue to be remain behind the men in each and every area of the social life both in Turkey and several parts of the world, despite the equal policies and laws. It is highly important for women to be empowered in the politics, decision-making mechanisms, business life, social life and within the family. It should always be remembered that a powerful woman means a powerful family and therefore, a powerful society.
Consequently, not only the governments, but also political parties, local administrations, business world, media and non-governmental organizations need to assume duties to empower the women and to solve the women’s problems. Justice based steps and approaches are of great importance in the policies to follow for empowering the women and in eliminating the women’s multidimensional victimhood and problems.
Respectfully announced to the public.