Investment in Girls Key for Sustainable Development

Created 17 October 2017

All participants of the Conference for the International Day of the Girl Child, held with collaboration by the Aydın Doğan Foundation, the UN, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women agreed on the fact that the most important action leading to sustainable development is to ensure social gender equality in education.

While Hanzade Doğan Boyner, the Head of the Aydın Doğan Foundation who delivered the opening speech at the conference said, "If we were to allocate a higher budget for the education of girls, we would have more effective solutions for global issues such as global warming”, Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator for Turkey, said, “Today we are reminding everyone that we cannot leave anyone, especially girls, behind; because girls will be building the societies of our future together with  boys."

Karl Kulessa, United Nations Population Fund Representative in Turkey, said, "What determines how the world will be like in 15 years is the effort we exercise today for a 10-year-old girl to reach her potential,” and Nona Zicherman, UNICEF Deputy Turkey Representative said, “A real social gender equality cannot be ensured in one day or one year in any setting. There is no proven single or magic way to attain this. We can do this only by working together at every level, changing social norms and practices that prevent girls and young women from achieving their true potential." Fulya Vekiloğlu, UN Women Country Program Director, stressed that gender inequalities should be put to an end, especially in terms of access to technology and sciences to ensure that the development is sustainable.

The third edition of the conference held with the partnership of the Aydın Doğan Foundation, UN, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UN Women was held at the Istanbul Hilton Hotel, on October 11, Wednesday, on the International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated every year, to stress the social gender inequality that girls are facing everywhere across the world.
Under the light of the fact that there is focus on the role of strong girls in the processes of ‘intervention in emergencies, and planning to enhance the resilience of societies’ on the International Day of the Girl Child throughout the world, the theme of the conference held in Turkey was “Strong Girls, A Strong Future: Social Change Actors of the 21st Century”

“If we wish to save the world, we should invest in the education of girls”

The common consensus among the conference participants was that investments towards the empowerment of girls, including education, were of great significance in terms of access to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Hanzade Doğan Boyner, the Chairwoman of the Aydın Doğan Foundation, who delivered the opening speech of the Conference for the International Day of the Girl Child, which has transformed into an international platform with the participation of renowned names, said, "To be frank, our young girls and women do not need to receive support for empowerment. As, they are already strong. At this point, the main thing to do is to emphasize their strengths and to remove barriers preventing them from demonstrating such strength. And that's exactly what we're trying to do! Today, our world and humanity face many difficulties such as wars and migrations. Women have a big role in finding solutions to the problems of the 21st century. We definitely must put this strength to use. If we had allocated a bigger budget for girls' education, if we had more women heads of state in the present day, if there were more women in Boards of Directors, if we had more women academicians, that is, if more women were in decision making mechanisms, they perhaps would have embraced the issues of the world such as global warming better, and we could have come up with more effective solutions. So, we would like to say, if you want to save the world, invest in the education of girls!"

Philippe Duamelle: A possibility of quality education for every girl

Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Turkey Representative, conveyed the message, "In order for them to benefit from the means we provide them, and for them to be truly empowered girls should be equipped with the knowledge and skills that can help them overcome the challenges of the 21st century. This is necessary not only for girls but also for creating prosperous, peaceful and resilient societies. By investing in the education and empowerment of our girls, we are investing not only in their future but also in the future of humanity."

Karl Kulessa, United Nations Population Fund Turkey Representative and Azerbaijan & Georgia Country Director, said, "When a girl reaches the age of 10, a girl can start to make decisions about what she has to do in order to exercise her rights, to continue her education, and to remain healthy, in short, to make decisions about her future". Thus, both herself and those around her, and the entire society will benefit from it. The United Nations Population Fund emphasizes the fact that our future lies in the investment we make in our girls; the efforts we make to make sure that a 10-year girl reaches her potential will determine what kind of a place the world will be 15 years later”.

Fulya Vekiloğlu, the UN Women Country Program Director, said, “The essence of sustainable development is ‘Not Leaving Anyone Behind’ regardless of their socioeconomic status, gender, nationality, religious or ethnic background. As the United Nations Women’s Unit, we believe that we must ‘not leave behind’ particularly women and girls, and we have to support them to be stronger economically, and in social areas and sciences,” and continued: “One of the Sustainable Development Goals, social gender equality focuses on the empowerment of girls and women. Thanks to the steps we take towards fulfilling that goal in the present day, girls will be in the center of the decision making mechanisms, and they will be the pioneers of social transformation in the future. We have to eliminate social gender inequalities particularly in terms of access to technology and sciences in order to make sure that development is sustainable. `We can attain social gender equality by making sure that everyone has access to science and technology, leading with women and girls.” 
Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, United Nations Turkish Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano said, “We are stressing the importance of a social gender perspective in economic and social life, on October 11, International Day of the Girl Child. We would like to remind everyone today that we cannot leave anyone, especially girls, behind; because girls and boys together will build our future societies. When they are empowered, it means we are a little closer to achieving sustainable development goals, and it means that there is a better future ahead of s, for all boys and girls, for all of us.

Iraqi scientist Dr. El Hashemite’s story was awe-inspiring

The key-note speaker of the conference was Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Academy of Sciences, who the same time has phD in Human Genetics, and received a lot of awards with her studies in sciences, arts, and human relations. The technique she developed to identify single gene disorder is employed in more than 100 centers around the world, and Dr Nesrin El-Hashemite attracted great interest with her speech about the difficulties she faced so far due to her gender.

Moreover, Shruthi Kapoor, who is the founder of Sayfty, an initiative aimed at educating and strengthening young women and girls against all forms of violence in India, also an economist, female rights advocate and social entrepreneur; Prof. Yıldız Ecevit, Retired Academician at Social Gender and Women Studies and  Sociology Department, METU; Dr. Nayla Fahed, the Pioneer of Alternative Learning Initiative in Lebanon; Canan Dağdeviren, an engineer who succeeded in entering the Forbes magazine's list of scientists under 30; Müjde Esin, Informatics Code Development Expert, and the founder of KızCode Platform extending coding and algorithm training; Chess Master Judit Polgar; Inci Kadribegic, a Medicine student and a stem cell researcher, and Ravda Nur Cuma, the founder of the foundation which she named after herself, for the education rights of the youngster exchanged his views and suggestions during the course the sessions held with the theme "Strong Girls, A Strong Tomorrow: Social Transformation Actors of the 21st Century" during the conference.