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Press Centre (10/2017)

Investment to the girls is the key for sustainable development


All participants of the International Day of the Girl Child Conference, organized by the Aydın Dogan Foundation, UN, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UN Women, have agreed that social gender equality in education is the most important path leading to sustainable development. 
 
Giving the keynote speech of the conference, Hanzade Dogan Boyner, the Chairwoman of the Aydın Dogan Foundation, said, “If we had allocated more resources for the girls` education, if there were more female representation in the decision mechanisms we could have been more apt at tackling with global issues such as global warming." Irena Vojackova-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey, said, "It is a day to remind the public that we can not leave anyone behind -especially girls - because they, the girls, will together with boys build our future societies."
 
Karl Kulessa, UN Population Fund Representative in Turkey, said, "It is the efforts we exert today for allowing a 10-year girl to achieve her potential that will determine how the world will be 15 years later"; while Nona Zicherman, UNICEF Turkey Deputy Representative, said, "True gender equality in any context cannot be achieved in a day, or in a year. There’s no proven signal approach no ‘silver bullet’ solution. But what we can do together, at all levels, is commit ourselves to change the social norms and practises that inhabits girls and young women from tapping into and realizing their true potential." Fulya Vekiloglu, UN Women Country Program Director, highlighted that the social gender inequalities particularly in access to technology and science should be eliminated in order to make the development sustainable.
 
This year, the conference co-organized by the Aydın Dogan Foundation, UN, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women for the third time in the Istanbul Hilton Hotel on October 11, on the International Day of the Girl Child which is celebrated every year to highlight the gender inequalities faced by girls all over the world. This year’s theme was centered on “Empowered Girls, Empowered Future: Girls as Social Change Agents in the 21st Century”, with a special focus on the role of empowered girls in emergency response and resilience planning.
 
“If you want to save the world, then you should invest in the girls' education”
 
The common view of conference participants was that the investments for empowerment of girls, including education, are of vital importance for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Giving the keynote speech of the International Day of the Girl Child Conference which has turned into an international platform with the participation of world famous names, Hanzade Dogan Boyner, the Chairwoman of the Aydın Dogan Foundation, said, “Gender inequality or women exposed to unfairness, or by a larger definition, the women issue is both a global and a multidimensional issue. As the Foundation, we have been conducting a number of activities for the sake of female empowerment; equal education opportunities for girls being the primary target. In the world, two third of almost 1 billion illiterate adults are women, only 1% of the global land is owned by women and female new graduates earn 2%0 less than the male graduates. We need to take giant strides together to change this dark scene. The leading countries of the world can commit to invest in Climate Change a minimum of 100 billion USD per year. However the resources allocated to the girls’ education projects is only 13 billion USD. Of course I am not questioning the significance of the global warming issue and I do support the measures taken yet If we had allocated more resources for the girls` education and if there were more female state leaders today, or if there were more female representation in the company Boards, if there were more female CEOs, more female academics in other words if there were more female representation in the decision mechanisms we could have been more apt at tackling with global issues such as global warming.”
 
“Education is an indispensable first requirement.” said Hanzade Dogan Boyner, and continued: “But, employment of women following such educational period and ensuring their participation to the economy also carries same importance. For this reason, we provide support to various projects for participation of women into employment. This year, as Hepsiburada, Turkey’s leading e-commerce platform that I founded, we started the program of power of technology for female entrepreneurs. Our technology and marketing power in particular, we are mobilizing all capabilities and abilities of Hepsiburada for female entrepreneurs via this program. We can proudly say that thanks to the program the ratio of female entrepreneurs who apply to our network of suppliers increased to 30% recently.”
 
Philippe Duamelle: For every girl, fair chance in quality education
 
Mr. Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Turkey, declared that “To take the advantage of the opportunities that must be made available to them and to be truly empowered, girls must be equipped with knowledge and skills required to successfully navigate the challenges of the 21st century. This is not only good for girls, but it is essential for building prosperous, peaceful and resilient societies. By investing in our girls’ education and empowerment, we are investing not only in their future – but in the future of humanity too”. 
 
Karl Kulessa, Representative in Turkey and Country Director for Azerbaijan and Georgia stated that “When a girl turns 10 years old, then she may start using her rights, continue with her education and do whatever needed to remain healthy, in brief take decisions for her future. Thus, both the people around her and the society benefit from this. UN Population Fund Representative emphasizes that the investment we make for the girls are confidential; it is the efforts we exert today for allowing a 10-year girl to achieve her potential that will determine how the world will be 15 years later."
 
Fulya Vekiloglu, UN Women Country Program Director, said, "Sustainable development is based on "Not Leaving Anyone Behind", regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, religious or ethnic origin. As the UN Women Unit, we believe that we should not "leave behind" particularly the women and girls, and we should support them in economic, social and life sciences. Social gender equality, among the Sustainable Development Goals, focuses on empowerment of girls and women. With the steps we are taking today for achieving this goal, the girls will be at the center of decision-making mechanisms and be the pioneers of social transformation in the future. The social gender inequalities particularly in access to technology and science should be eliminated in order to make the development sustainable. We can achieve social gender equality only by allowing everyone, particularly the women and girls, to have access to science and technology." 
 
Irena Vojackova-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey stated that “October 11 International Day of the Girl Child is the day we highlight the importance of gender perspective in economic and social life. It is a day to remind the public that we can not leave anyone behind -especially girls- because they, the girls, will together with boys build our future societies. Their empowerment will mean we are closer to realizing the sustainable development goals, and all boys and girls we have a better future ahead. 
 
The story of Iraqi scientist Dr. El-Hashemite has astonished all
 
Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, the Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science, who is a winner of numerous awards for her studies on science, art, literature and humanitarian affairs and holds a PhD in human genetics, came to Istanbul to deliver the keynote speech at the conference. The technique developed by El-Hashemite to diagnose single gene disorders from one cell is now in use as a preventive procedure in more than 100 centers. Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite shared the challenges she has faced to this date due to her gender. 
 
During the sessions under the theme “Empowered Girls, Empowered Future: Girls as Social Change Agents in the 21st Century”, Shruthi Kapoor, an Indian economist, women's rights activist, and social entrepreneur and the founder of Sayfty which is an initiative aiming to educate, equip and empower women and girls against all forms of violence; Prof. Dr. Yıldız Ecevit, a Retired Faculty Member from the METU Sociology Department and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies; Dr. Nayla Fahed, the founder of the Lebanese Alternative Learning Initiative; Canan Dagdeviren, an engineer who was listed as one of the 30 remarkable inventors in science under 30 by Forbes magazine; Mujde Esin, a Coding Specialist and the founder of the KızCode Platform which provides training on coding and algorithm; the chess grandmaster Judith Polgar; İnci Kadribegic, an undergraduate medical student and stem cell researcher and Ravda Nur Cuma, the founder of the Ravda Nur Foundation fighting for educational rights of youth, expressed their opinions and suggestions. 

For more information, please contact:
Sema Hosta, UNICEF Turkey, shosta@unicef.org, +90 312 454 1010
 
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org