A total of 40 renowned men from the arts and business world have founded an association named “Yanındayız” (“We stand by you” in English) in an attempt to support women’s organizations and women’s rights advocates against gender discrimination.
The association’s publicity meeting was held on Sept. 25 in Istanbul. President of the association, Nur Ger, who is known for her active involvement in women empowerment, spoke during the meeting.
“For many years now, women of this country have rightfully complained about being left alone in their struggle regarding women rights and social gender inequality. This situation is now changing; there are men who stand up, raise their voices and say ‘We stand by you’ for gender equality,” said Ger.
“Yanındayız Association, which has mainly been founded by men, meets with Turkey today. Our target group is men. We believe the change needs to start with men,” said Ger, who is also the founder and CEO of the Suteks textile company.
Meanwhile, the association gives place to its objective, vision and values on its website.
“In order to bring about changes in laws, institutions and social life, we aim for men’s better awareness and active involvement in the struggle against all obstacles and prejudices that cause gender inequality and sexual discrimination,” it says on the website.
Among the association’s 40 founding members, there are authors, CEOs of various companies, executive officials, directors, psychiatrists, editor-in-chiefs, actors, academics and columnists.
During the introductory meeting, one of these founding members, Akkök Holding CEO Ahmet C. Dördüncü, said gender equality was “an absolute must” for Turkish society.
“I feel debted to undertake some works regarding this issue [to achieve gender equality in society]. I believe there are very important problems stemming from education. Men are the reason of gender inequality in society, so we need to fix and educate ourselves first,” Dördüncü said.
Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin also took the floor during the publicity meeting on Sept. 25.
“The target in our endeavor is men, we need to change so that society becomes a more equal place [to live]. But without a change in law, the mindset will not change,” he said.
“I think there are three forms of violence: The first is physical and the second is not bringing women into executive positions in both the public and private sector. The third is staying silent to this violence. That is why we have said, ‘Let us not stay silent, we stand by you.’ That is what this is all about,” said Yetkin.