Open Letter to Şerife Ünverdi from 19 Organizations

Dear Şerife Ünverdi,

We are witnessing, in shock and regret, your attempt to establish the Women’s Studies Department which is far from equality, participation, and accomplishing results and does not fulfill the needs of the present day. You may not remember that the day of the law approval, it was understood that the Department would not function and consequently was not operationalized.

We; women’s organizations, associations, unions, political parties and universities have prepared permanent, contemporary and promising law and institution proposals which could ensure equality, and have presented these ideas to all governmental levels.

You ignored our proposals that have filled shelves in the Parliament. You excluded us and all our work. Whereas, we are the ones who are actively affected by gender inequality. We know what we need. But you took a dominant and patronizing stance. This law does not have the sufficiency or authorization to end gender inequality.

We as women, individuals who are impacted by inequality and people who care about changing inequality, do not believe in the department. This law which passed ten years ago does not fulfill the needs of the present day.

–          Employing in a partisan manner

–          Assigning new directors from parties and increasing the number of counselors

–          Increasing the unwieldiness in political and public work

–          Making violence against women invisible

–          Postponing the shelter home needs

–          Ignoring the equal pay for equal work request

–          Suspending EU harmonization studies

–          Going against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

–          Concealing misogynist laws

–          Maintaining the monstrous structure of the penal code

–          Ensuring the maintenance of problems regarding children and women under risk

–          Reinforcing the patriarchal understanding of the education system

–          Putting regulations about free healthcare services on the back burner

–          Ignoring the facts of night clubs, abuse of women and trafficking

As a “female minister” who is unaware of the inequality we live in, please explain: Why would you approve a regulation which reinforces stereotypical roles, limits women to “wives” and “mothers”, and maintains inequality?

Please note that you will not be able to accomplish gender equality and justice by ignoring organizations working in this field. Since 2007 we have collaborated on necessary proposals and work to establish the “Mechanism for Gender Equality” for this country which would meet the real needs. Instead of realizing this implementation which is applied in Turkey, South Cyprus and other countries around the world and has also been emphasized as functional in EU instructions and UN reports, we believe you have taken a false step by establishing the disapproved Women’s Studies Department. We invite you to established the Mechanism which will ensure gender equality and satisfy the needs; and we emphasize that we will only be supportive if such a step is taken.

  1. Akova Women’s Association
  3. ÇAĞ-SEN
  4. Revolutionary Trade Unions Federation
  5. Union of Cyprus Turkish Craftsmen and Tradesmen
  6. Feminist Atelier
  7. Rule of Law Movement
  8. Queer Cyprus Association (Initiative Against Homophobia)
  9. Turkish Cypriot Union of Public Employees
  10. Cyprus Turkish Journalists Union
  11. Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation
  12. Turkish Cypriot Women Solidarity Council
  13. Cyprus Turkish Secondary Education Teachers Union
  14. Cyprus Turkish Teachers Trade Union
  15. Hands Across the Divide
  16. Social Risk Prevention Foundation
  17. Patriotic Women’s Union
  18. CTP-BG Women’s Organization
  19. TDP Women’s Organization
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