Ezgi Çapa - Yaşar Kaçmaz - Taner Yener / İstanbul, Oct 8 () - Aydın Dogan Foundation Chairwoman Hanzade Doğan Boyner urged Turkey would not be able to realize its dream to become a modern country, until young girls are offered opportunities for education and a life space to dream of a better future, at a conference opening ceremony held by United Nations and Aydın Doğan Foundation, launched in Istanbul, on Oct. 8.
Within the ongoing “October 11 International Day of the Girl Child Conference” organized by UN, UNICEF, UN WOMEN along with UNFPA and Aydın Doğan Foundation under the theme of “Strong Girls, Strong Tomorrows”, UNFPA Turkey Representative, UNFPA Country Director in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia and Hanzade Doğan Boyner have gathered in Conrad Hotel.
On 2011, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11, as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
Some of the key issues debated for Turkey’s outlook were “Investments for young girls and search for a sustainable future”, “Scholarships for girls”, “Violence against women” and “Early Marriages”, along with the journey and outcome of “Dad, Send me to School” campaign led by Aydın Doğan Foundation.
“26 pct. amongst girls under 18 forced to get married”
Having delivered a speech at the conference, Hanzade Doğan Boyner urged, “If our girls remain incapable of dreaming for themselves, if our young girls are forced to get married in their early ages and oppressed under the defense of ‘what will she even become, if she goes to school’, we know that our dreams to construct a modern Turkey would never come true”.
According to United Nations data, around 116 million young girls across the globe are unable to complete their primary education.
Last year, 15 million girls have been forced to get married before they were 15 years old. Still, around 250 million women under the age of 15 are married. Data released by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, in Turkey, shows 26 percent amongst women are marrying before they reach lawful age, as the conference underlined.
According to Hanzade Doğan Boyner, numbers show half of these young girls are exposed to violence. This number declines to 27 percent, amongst girls who have graduated from high school. Some 31 percent of women in Turkey tell their access to education is restrained, while this number rises to 40 percent in rural areas. The people who limit the education of women remain amongst fathers with 71 percent, followed by male relatives with 20 percent.
“This map should change; girls are our future”
Having urged this social map should be changed, Hanzade Doğan Boyner added:
“Girls should grow up with the same confidence young boys are given. Every young girl should be offered equal health facilities. But most importantly, we have gathered here to urge ‘girls should all have equal opportunities for education’. Those girls are our future.”
“Hundreds of thousands have supported ‘Dad, send me to school’”
Launched by Doğan Gazetecilik, the “Dad, Send Me to School” initiative aims to give young girls across Turkey access to educational opportunities.
Hanzade Doğan Boyner addressed their work within the campaign and said, “When we have taken the first step, access of children to school has fallen 30 percent behind young boys’ rate. Neither social and cultural values, nor economic despair would offer a solution against this injustice. We have decided to knock doors, house by house, until every girl is offered education. We said, we will award scholarships if this is an economic problem, open dormitories if this is a question of sheltering, and speak to families if this is a problem of morals. Hundreds of thousands have supported us; they have banded together to save girls. Thus, I am grateful. Today, there is no difference between the schooling rate of girls and boys”.