Istanbul, Oct 5 () - Sabancı Holding Chair Güler Sabancı has said social development cannot be sustainable if individual rights and freedoms are not prioritized and there is not a well-functioning democracy.
Speaking at the G(irls)20 Summit in Istanbul, which focused on the role of women in societies ahead of the G-20 Leaders Summit in November, Sabancı noted that press freedom is a must to maintain a well-functioning democracy.
“Sustainable development cannot be ensured in an environment where individual rights and freedoms are not prioritized and there is not a well-functioning democracy. For sustainable development and a well-functioning democracy, press freedom is the key,” she said.
The Summit in Istanbul is calling for G-20 leaders to achieve over 100 million new jobs for women by 2025.
Sabancı, who is also the chairperson of the Sabancı Foundation, said the biggest obstacle to women’s participation in the workforce is the lack of recognition of gender equality.
“Unless we eradicate this misperception in the society, we won’t be able to see more women in educational, political or business life. We all see that equality between women and men needs to be ensured. We cannot develop unless we conceive across society that gender equality is not a privilege, but a right. Women do not want any privileges, just their rights” she said.
Sabancı also noted that socioeconomic growth cannot be maintained without fostering more female participation in the workplace.
She said Sabancı Holding has placed crucial emphasis on the issue of women’s employment, with 38.5 percent of the company’s workforce made up of women, above Turkey’s average of 30.8 percent.
“We have also doubled the rate of women’s participation in top management to 14 percent over the last three years, and I believe this will increase even further. Four of our nine-person board are women. We have also focused on fostering women employment and girls’ education. For instance, we have conducted two separate studies with United Nations institutions to spread the idea of gender equality across society,” Sabancı added.