Roundtables for Democracy: Young Women’s Active Participation in Local Governance
The project we are conducting in cooperation with Matra, Roundtable Meetings for Democracy: Active Participation of Young Women in Local Governance, which we are implementing in cooperation with Matra, is to build a bridge between young women citizens and young women politicians in three provinces (Kırklareli, Adana and Istanbul) and to ensure the emergence of women-friendly projects with a
common mind based on dialogue. The local stakeholders of our project are the city councils in the relevant provinces.
We will organize face-to-face workshops on good governance for young women citizens in Kırklareli, Adana and Istanbul to raise their awareness on local decision- making mechanisms.
Young women politicians in Kırklareli Adana and Istanbul will then be mentored by former women politicians to support them in designing women-friendly policies. Following the mentoring and training programs, face-to-face roundtable meetings will be organized in each city to discuss the needs of young women citizensFinally, an online meeting will be organized where all parties from all provinces can present their projects. Finally, the project will end with the preparation of a "Guide for Young Women's Participation in Local Governments" The main objective is to provide a context for women citizens and politicians to negotiate and give birth to inclusive women-friendly projects in cities.
Bridge of Women Project
In the earthquake effected cities of Malatya and Kahramanmaraş, women's political representation is significantly low and the region is generally not accepting of women politicians and political actors. For the effective reconstruction of cities, it is essential that women take an active and participatory role, contributing with their experience and participation. This is particularly important during local elections, as women's participation can put pressure on local governments to seriously consider proposed policies. The objectives of this project are multifaceted, including increasing women's representation in local politics in Malatya and Kahramanmaraş, promoting the activities of local women's NGOs to create opportunities for women to voice their views, and increasing the visibility of young women's demands and concerns. With earthquake survivors as the target group, the project aims to increase political dialogue during the local election period. The initiative also aims to provide a platform for young earthquake survivors to actively participate in discussions about their political priorities during the election period.
It is very important to conduct a gender-sensitive needs analysis in cities after the earthquake. In this project, we conducted a needs analysis in the region by organizing meetings with the participation of female citizens, female NGO representatives and female politicians in Malatya and Kahramanmaraş provinces. At the end of the project, we compiled the data we collected into a book and forwarded it to local administrators.
The establishment of Ben Secerim is supported by European Endowment for Democracy (EED) . The support includes alias “Ben Seçerim” training to women according to their needs and demands, preparing seminar programs and organizing meetings with decision-makers, NGO s as well as political parties. It carries out activities and acts as a pressure group for the candidates of “Ben Seçerim” vis-à-vis the political parties.
Grassroots - 3K
I Chose Women/I Elect Women: Empowerment and Enhancing of Women’s Electoral Representation in Three Provincial Cities of Turkey: KIRKLARELİ, K.MARAŞ, AND KARS
Ben Secerim, ( I choose ) has started a two-year project with the Embassy of Canada The project will be implemented in 3 cities of Turkey from 3 diverse regions where the political representation of women is low.
The project foresees identifying the reasons and intervening to ameliorate the conditions for the participation of women as political candidates for decision-making positions in rural and lesser developed, disadvantaged parts of Turkey. Three cities (Kahramanmaraş, Kars, and Kırklareli) with diverse geographical, ethnical, religious, and political identities are chosen as the study and working cases.
Interviews with the Political Parties
Ben Seçerim Association’s “3K” Project, funded by the Canadian Government, organized many visits to political parties since the beginning of the project. Deva Party’s leader Ali Babacan and vice chairperson Hasan Karal are visited at the party center in Ankara. Party leaders are briefed about the field activities in 3 cities (Kahramanmaraş, Kırklareli, Kars) in which women’s political representation is zero. At those interviews, the necessity behind the public opinion poll to be conducted throughout Turkey, as a part of the Project, with Konda (research firm), is discussed. Again with the same agenda, the Headquarters of the Workers' Party of Turkey was visited in Istanbul and its leader Erkan Baş and 27th Term Deputy Sera Kadıgil were interviewed.
Research on Women’s Political Participation in Turkey
Ben Seçerim Association is running a nation-wide public opinion poll, under the title of “Women’s Political Participation in Turkey” with the partnership of KONDA Research Company. About 2 thousand citizens in 34 cities will be interviewed in this research, and in-deep-interviews will be applied in 3K cities. The results report of the research will be published in May 2022.
Within the 3K Project, dialog meetings in Kars, Kırklareli and Kahramanmaraş were organized with the participation of the political parties’ headquarters, municipalities, women organizations, female entreprenuers and muhtars. Those meetings focused on raising awareness on women’s representation in politics.