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I Have a Word in Equality - Ayşe Kaşıkırık

I Have a Word in Equality, where we aim to bring together those who have a say in the name of 'Equality', especially NGOs, the private sector, the public, and academia in order to ensure gender equality! This week's guest of our series is KAPI (Global Equality and Inclusion Network) Founding President and Istanbul University Political Science & Public Administration Ph.D. Student, Ayşe Kaşıkırık.

Eşitlikte Sözüm Var Kapak Görseli, KAPI Ayşe Kaşıkırık

Ayşe Kaşıkırık, who manages national and international projects focusing on gender equality, gender-sensitive budgeting, and equal representation of women, said, “A more egalitarian and inclusive world is possible!” She founded the Global Equality and Inclusion Network-KAPI, an independent non-governmental organization based on the idea of she.

Kaşıkırık continues her academic studies and projects as an independent researcher in the fields of women's studies, urbanization policies, social policies, gender equality, and local governments.

Interview: Dr. Aylin Löle

Edit: Simge Yazıcı

For equally detailed information about the Globality and Inclusion Network:

You are a person who takes an active role in the advocacy department for gender equality. At the same time, gender-sensitive budgeting is one of your areas of expertise. Why should the public and private sectors do gender-sensitive budgeting?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: The budget is more than a technical text, it is a document with a political counterpart. It reflects the political preferences and priorities of the administration at the time of its preparation, therefore it is not impartial.

Gender-sensitive budgeting (GRB) is an important financial tool for eliminating issues that cause discrimination between women and men. TCDB should not be perceived as a women-specific̈ budget. At the same time, it does not mean that 50% of the budget is allocated to women and 50% to men.

In TCDB, the aim is to create a budget where gender is the core of the business. Since the TCDB constitutes the budget pillar for ensuring gender equality, it is critical that public and private sector institutions prepare gender-sensitive budgets.

Turkey's gender equality score is clear, where are we in terms of gender-sensitive budgeting? Can you compare it with good examples from around the world?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: As in gender equality, we are not in a good position in gender-sensitive budgeting. Among the countries where TCDB studies stand out are Germany, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Philippines, Finland, India, Spain, Sweden, Iceland, Korea, Macedonia, Mexico, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ukraine.

Gender mainstreaming is a strategy followed to achieve gender equality based on equal structures, environments, and conditions for both women and men.

The Municipality of Vienna stands out with its long-standing efforts in mainstreaming gender equality. Vienna ranks at the top of the European level in terms of both the conceptual depth and thematic breadth of its activities. Since 2006, the City of Vienna has integrated gender-based budgeting into its budget proposals, reviewing all parts of the budget from a gender perspective and presenting the beneficiaries of the different items in the budget in a separate section.

The pandemic has begun to show its impact on gender-based vulnerable groups in a more devastating way. One of them is women's poverty. As a name working on the current situation and women's poverty, can you shed some light on what can be done to eliminate women's poverty in the center of gender equality?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: Because of gender inequalities that have existed for centuries, women make up the majority of informal employment, unpaid care work and cheap labor in the market. Therefore, the effects of the Covid-19 global epidemic are most severely experienced by women because; women earn less than men, save less and work in precarious jobs.

As the researches show, the Covid-19 epidemic has deepened the poverty gap between women and men, taking gender inequality back a generation.

In the epidemic conditions where poverty, deprivation, hunger, unemployment and especially women's labor are devalued, it is essential to implement gender-sensitive employment policies as soon as possible.

Here are some of the concrete steps that can be taken to build a more egalitarian and inclusive order in the new normal:

  • Unregistered employment should be zeroed

  • For a better new normal, the principle of “Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value” should be adopted.

  • Institutional mechanisms should be developed to reduce the burden of care work on women (such as nursery, and nursing home support)

One of the areas where Turkey is most unsuccessful in the gender scorecard is representation in politics. Why can't we go any further in this regard?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: Turkey ranks 133rd among 156 countries in the 2020 Global Gender Inequality Index. In the report, which examines the fields of education, health, participation in the economy, and representation in political life, Turkey ranks 114th in representation in political life. As in the rest of the world, politics is one of the areas where gender inequality is most intense in Turkey.

Due to gender inequalities, the barriers to women's participation in both working life and politics are stricter. The preference of political parties to include female candidates in their candidate lists is very low, and women are usually nominated from places and places where they are less likely to be elected.

Fundamental changes are necessary for women to be represented equally in politics. One of them is the change in the electoral system. However, the zipper system (where the candidate lists are arranged as one woman and one man) should be applied to the candidate lists of political parties.

There were mukhtar elections in the past days, what are your observations there? When you look at the number of elected female mukhtars, what does the situation evolve in terms of women's representation in politics?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: Local governments are seen as the first step of entering politics. The way for women to be visible in local politics is possible with their equal participation and equal representation in local governments. In this context, the institution of mukhtar is the gateway for women to local governments.

For the construction of egalitarian and inclusive neighborhoods, it is a fundamental right for women to be represented more in mukhtars' institutions, which are the gateway to local governments. However, as in politics in general, we are faced with a picture far from equality in the institution of mukhtar.

The rate of female mukhtars, which was 1.3 percent in the 2014 elections, increased to 2.14 percent in 2019. As of 2021, the number of female headmen among 50,284 mukhtars is 1101, of which 985 are in neighborhoods and 116 villages.

As a result of the mukhtar by-elections held in 753 places on 6 June, the number of female mukhtars increased to 1119. As the data show, although the number of female headmen has increased over the years, these rates are unacceptably low.

As Awen for Us, we try to support gender equality advocacy through 'information activism' with our volunteers. Could you tell us about the Global Equality and Inclusion Network that you are one of the founders of? What is the road that crosses us as Awen for Us?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: KAPI, Global Equality, and Inclusion Network Association was founded in Istanbul on April 3, 2021, on the 91st anniversary of women's right to vote and be elected to local governments, which is the gateway for women to politics in Turkey.

In the changing and developing conditions of the 21st century, we started our work in order to contribute to the longing of different segments of society, and especially women, for a more livable world in the face of global and local problems.

By producing original projects, conducting research, preparing publications and reports, and organizing periodic meetings, we want to ensure that women and all vulnerable segments of the society learn from each other, strengthen and cooperate.

There are many areas in which we can cooperate in the localization of “Gender Equality”, the 5th of Sustainable Development Goals with Awen for Us, in reducing inequalities and in the field of social inclusion.

What's Your Promise in Equality?

Ayşe Kaşıkırık: A more equal and inclusive world is possible together!

A world where no one is left behind, where all forms of discrimination are ended, where poverty and deprivation are not experienced, is possible with egalitarian and inclusive social policies.

In order for all vulnerable segments of society, especially women, to live in an equal, fair, inclusive, and sustainable society, we must transform social policies from philanthropy to a needs-based and rights-based approach.

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