Türkiye Impact Council will focus on SDG 5 – Gender Equality

As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided not to let it stop us, so we launched Türkiye Impact Council on April 30th. We realized that inequalities could deepen as a result of the pandemic and no one will be able to get through this alone. But together we could start a collective action to turn a crisis into a catalyst.

IMPACT2030 has launched Regional Impact Councils in key geographical areas. Türkiye is the 7th country to launch Regional Impact Council. Impact Councils are comprised of individuals from regionally-based organizations, representing the private sector, public sector, academia, and civil society, with a shared interest in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through employee volunteering.

Before establishing the Impact Council, we started a Capacity Mapping Survey which puts forth active companies in employee volunteering in Türkiye. I organized several monthly meetings in Istanbul and this has helped to bring the right people together at the Council. Chris Jarvis, Co-Founder at IMPACT2030 & RWI, and I as being Regional Voice Lead for the last 3 years, gave detailed information about IMPACT2030’s work. Thanks to KPMG, 3M, IBM, and Netaş for hosting these gatherings and presenting their employee volunteering programs which gave insight into why volunteering and pro-bono matter. And thanks to Ibrahim Betil, one of the most respected leaders in civil society, for his talk about the most prominent problem in Türkiye, which is gender equality.

Türkiye Impact Council Meeting

Why gender equality?

We believe at IMPACT2030, when companies join forces and use the skills, expertise, and creativity of their people as a force for good, they can change the world. With the power of collaboration and focus, the unsolvable problems of the world could be solved.

Every Impact Council chooses one orienting goal to expand reach and impact. The Council of Toronto chose SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. Australia’s orienting goal is SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. New Zealand’s is SDG
10 – Reduced Inequalities.

We reviewed the low scored SDG’s in Türkiye at our first Impact Council meeting and voted for two SDG’s; Gender Equality and Climate Action, which not only a local problem, but a global threat to the way we live and the future of our planet. SDG 5- Gender Equality was selected as the Council’s orienting goal with 100% votes. Türkiye Impact Council will focus on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Türkiye ranks 130th among 149 countries in WEF Gender Gap Index. Violence against women in Turkey has increased in the last 10 years. The pandemic has had a negative effect on domestic violence. Coronavirus means for women ‘sheltering’ with their abusers. Economic impact of pandemic is felt especially by women who are generally earning less, saving less or holding insecure jobs.  Unpaid care work has increased, with children out-of-school and heightened care needs of old and ill persons.

Not all the news about gender equality in Türkiye are bad. There are 319 WEP’s  (UN  Women’s Empowerment Principles) signatories in Türkiye. Türkiye is among 2 countries in the world with the most WEP’s signatories. Gender equality is on the agenda of the companies. Now it is time to activate employees towards attaining SDG 5. All the employee volunteering and pro-bono programs will have an impact like a mosaic around SDG 5.  We will move the needle from conversation to action.

COVID-19 is a challenge for all of us. We faced death, feared for our loved ones, felt social isolation anxiety, struggled with the change of remote working. I asked the Council members to wait until the pandemic’s effect to cool down or start working together. We decided to start our volunteer work for gender equality, women and girls with 100% votes.

33 corporations with 56 representatives joined Türkiye Impact Council: Accor Hotels, Akkim, AstraZeneca, Bilgi University, Borusan, Coca Cola Içecek, Dow, Dogus Tech, DP World, Ebay-GittiGidiyor, Eczacıbaşı, Enerjisa, Headline Diversity, İnci, KPMG, Mapfre, Marriott Hotels, MediaMarkt, MEYED, Microsoft, Netaş, Pfizer, Ritz-Carlton, Samsung, Sodexo, Stryker, Tetrapak, Tofaş, Turkcell, Unicef National Committee, UNFPA, Yeditepe University, and TÜSEV. And more coming soon!

No country has yet achieved gender equality. But we have 10 years till 2030. And we have an Impact Council with great people who will not wait for a second to start, even in the toughest times of their lives. Thanks to all Impact Council members! Finally thank you to Chris Jarvis for all your support!

Arzu Pınar Demirel
IMPACT2030 Regional Voice Lead
Founder at Headline Diversity

E-mail: turkeycouncil@impact2030.com