On the occasion of March 8th International Women’s Day, a panel discussion on women’s employment was held in Bursa on 10 March 2017 to discuss local strategies for the implementation of the Action Plan for Women’s Employment developed under the project “More and Better Jobs for Women: Women’s Empowerment through Decent Work in Turkey” implemented by International Labour Organization (ILO).
The panel discussion was organized under the project that is being carried out by ILO Office in Turkey in cooperation with Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) and with the funding of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The “Action Plan for Women’s Employment”, the first in Turkey, was developed to promote women’s employment in Turkey and to support İŞKUR’s activities in this field. The panel discussion addressed needs and priorities for local level implementation of this plan as well as opinions and suggestions of different parties in this regard.
Chaired by Prof. Dr. Özlem Işığıçok from Uludağ University, speakers of the panel discussion “Development of Local Strategies for Promoting Women’s Employment” were as follows: ILO National Project Coordinator Ebru Özberk Anlı; Bursa İŞKUR (Employment Agency) Director Eren Türkmen; Erkut Öneş, Bursa Provincial Director of Family and Social Policies; İbrahim Karaman, Bursa Metropolitan Municipality Director for Social Affairs and BUSMEK; İpek Yalçın from Bursa Businesswomen Association; and Seçil Aktaş, a participant to the entrepreneurship training delivered under the project.
Speaking in the panel discussing problems in women’s employment in general and in Bursa, Project Coordinator Ebru Özberk Anlı said the local implementation and ownership of the Action Plan in project provinces including Bursa is of vital importance.
Erkut Öneş, Bursa Provincial Director of Family and Social Policies stressed the importance of education and training for women and pointed out that the number of women benefitting from the services of the Ministry diminishes as the level of education gets higher up to university.
“Entrepreneurship trainings gave direction to my life”
Seçil Aktaş was one of those in Bursa receiving training in entrepreneurship. Having worked for 11 years as a manager in the port sector known as “male dominant”, Ms Aktaş says this 5-day training has given direction to her life:
“We started this training as 25 timid women. Then we got to know ourselves better, learned how to turn criticism into opportunity. Now, for example, there is this rising tendency for fast food, but this trend also leaves behind vacuum of home-made food, which could well be a new area for entrepreneurship.”
Panellists stated that many women would take part in working life and those who have left would return in case they are relieved from the burden of child and elderly care.
The panel discussion dealt mainly with problems specific to women’s employment in Bursa. In the questions and answers part of the event participants raised several issues including promotion by such places as neighbourhood headmen and health centres to have İŞKUR services known more widely by local women and the need for further support to women who have to work home-based for not being able to work out of home for several reasons.