Istanbul, July 20, 2011—The Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER) and the World Bank jointly today launched Turkey’s first Gender Certification Program for private sector companies. World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick and KAGIDER President Gülden Türktan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the program, also known as the Equal Opportunities Model (FEM).
“Turkey has seen significant improvements in women’s welfare, with the gender gap in primary education virtually disappearing. Yet still less than one quarter of working-age women are employed,” Zoellick said. “The World Bank Group supports gender equality around the world, and it is with great pride that we join KAGIDER in the launch of this innovative Gender Certification Program for the private sector in Turkey today. With gender equality, everybody gains: women, men, families, society as a whole—in Turkey, and in the world.”
The main objective of the Gender Certification Program is to support private sector firms that succeed in promoting gender equality as a business practice. The pilot program launched today aims to recognize participating Turkish and international firms operating in Turkey for fostering equal job opportunities and advancement in the work place for men and women. Certification under the program is based on an assessment, including by independent audit firms, of companies’ human resources policies, procedures and practice.
Türktan noted: “While Turkey is the world’s 16th largest economy, only 24 % of Turkish women are employed. For sustainable prosperity and profitability, Turkey needs more women in the workforce. The Equal Opportunities Model aims to create a level playing field for men and women in professional life. Increasing women’s employment raises productivity in the workplace and improves overall economic performance. World Bank studies show that increasing female labor force participation from 24% to 29% could contribute to reducing poverty by up to %15. Our Equal Opportunities Model is gaining momentum and I am eager to watch it spread with an increasing number of firms joining those already participating in the pilot program.”