Aydın Doğan Foundation to boost efforts in empowering women, girls: Chairwoman

Created 12 February 2018

The Aydın Doğan Foundation will boost efforts to empower women and girls in science to establish gender equality, the foundation’s chairwoman, Hanzade Doğan Boyner, said on Feb. 8, while addressing a U.N. conference.

“I want to declare our commitment, as Aydın Doğan Foundation, to work hand in hand with all partners to ensure gender equality and promote the participation of women and girls in scientific endeavors not only in Turkey but globally,” she said during a two-day forum organized at the U.N. headquarters in New York City celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

On Dec. 22, 2015, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities. Since then, Feb. 11 of each year has been proclaimed as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

“The cultural distortions work through stereotypes that characterize STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] subjects as more masculine. They hold girls back through subtle and explicit messaging, positioning girls as less able in science and math. We know for a fact that none of this is true. It is sheer cultural conditioning, cultural bias, and cultural convenience,” Doğan Boyner said while holding a speech on Feb. 8 during the forum titled “Equality and Parity in Science for Peace and Development.”

Today, women’s role in the Turkish society is still far from ideal, but there “is much room for progress,” Doğan Boyner said.

“However, what we accomplished so far is immense, especially in science and engineering. The percentage of Turkish female students in STEM subjects is among the highest in the OECD,” she added.

Doğan Boyner calls on world to unite against terrorism which hits women and girls most

The Aydın Doğan Foundation chairwoman has also called on the international community to unite against terrorism, as it affects not only human rights but also women rights. “Our world today is threatened by acts of terrorism that hinder peace and progress. Women and girls are especially vulnerable and targeted by terrorism,” she said.

“We face failed states, ungoverned spaces, refugee flows and international terror across the world. When Syria collapsed, millions of girls and women refugees fled the country. In Turkey, we do our utmost to provide basic facilities and education to the refugees but the reality is we are losing a generation of young Syrian girls and boys,” she noted.

The chairwoman also said a big share falls on civil society and NGOs, not just the government, to address the issue of gender inequality, giving the example of Aydın Doğan Foundation’s “Dad, Send Me to School” movement, whose main objective is to spread education mobilization throughout Turkey and make sure every girl goes to school.

“At Aydın Doğan Foundation, besides working to help disadvantaged girls by providing scholarships and building girls’ dormitories we are also working hard to overcome the biases against girls in science. We run national ad campaigns either showing women role models or telling girls they can be doctors, lawyers, scientist, and engineers,” she said.

“In the name of promoting girls in science we also have an attractive scholarship program for girls choosing to study engineering,” Doğan Boyner added.