“We, women, have a word to say and the power to change in local elections”
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Before the March 31 local elections, the Association for Support and Training of Women (KA.DER) organized special training programs and an awareness campaign for women village and neighborhood head (mukhtar) candidates with the slogan, “Equality Starts in the Neighborhood.”
These trainings and the awareness campaign organized by the KA.DER have considerably affected the interest of women in becoming candidates in local elections. While the number of women neighborhood and village heads was 674 before the local elections in 2019, this figure has increased to 1,065 after the elections, which marks a 72-percent increase.
The KA.DER’s first training camp for women mukhtar candidates was held in Antalya and attended by over 100 women from around Turkey.
This first training camp in Antalya was followed by a series of others in Mersin, İstanbul, İzmir, Balıkesir, Aydın, Denizli, Adana and Muğla. The training program, which could also be attended by the ones running in local elections on different levels, focused primarily on the legislation of local government, effective and credible campaigning techniques, local politics and organization, personal development and gender equality. Certified trainings were also offered to women in İstanbul in cooperation with the Altınbaş University, Research and Application Center for Gender Equality and Women Studies (TOKAMER) and via Şirin Tekeli School of Local Administration.
KA.DER Executive Board Chair Nuray Karaoğlu has made the following remarks on the increasing number of women elected as mukhtars:
“With an amendment introduced to the law on villages on October 26, 1933, the women have acquired the right to be elected as mukhtars and members to the village and neighborhood councils. Gül Esin Aydın, who was elected as the mukhtar of Demircidere Village in Güre, Aydın in elections on November 2, 1933, became the first woman mukhtar-elect of Turkey.
“According to the results of the local elections in 2014, 674 of 50,292 village and neighborhood head across Turkey were women.”
Referring to their campaign of “Equality Starts in the Neighborhood”, she has stated that the number of women elected as village and neighborhood heads in March 31 local elections has increased by 72 percent. (EMK/SD)