How to Support Turkish Women's Rights Campaigns (Beyond Posting to Instagram)

Members of the Ankara Women's Platform protest in support of keeping the Instanbul Treaty. July 26, 2020, Turkey. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

As word spreads about America's "empowerment" Instagram selfies inadvertently drowning out a Turkish women's rights campaign, many who posted black-and-white photos are now asking how they can assist women in Turkey. It's a worthwhile cause—in addition to skyrocketing rates of violence against women in Turkey, in 2018, the country ranked 130th out of 150 countries in terms of the gender gap.

Here's how you can help.

The Istanbul Convention

The Istanbul Convention is a human rights treaty designed to offer better protection for survivors and victims of domestic violence, and to enforce appropriate punishments on those that commit it. It was ratified in Turkey in 2012, but is under threat of withdrawal by the current administration. There is now a Change.org petition in support of keeping the convention. Alternatively, the TCK-103 Women Against Child Sexual Abuse Platform has also put together a letter and provided the email addresses of important members of the Central Executive Committee of the Justice and Development Party, to urge them to keep the Istanbul Convention in place.

Purple Roof Women's Shelter Organization

Since 1995, the Purple Roof Women's Shelter Organization has offered legal advice, medical support and counseling to women dealing with domestic violence, and to survivors of sex trafficking. Its 18-bed shelter in Istanbul is currently the only independent women's shelter in Turkey. While temporarily closed due to COVID-19-related precautions, it continues to run several helplines to assist women in danger. Click to donate.

Turkish Philanthropy Funds

TPF's Gender Equality Fund works to eradicate child marriage in a country where 15% of girls are married before the age of 18. It also fights to improve the education and employment rates for women in Turkey, where, the organization says, 56% of girls drop out of high school and less than 30% are gainfully employed. In addition, TPF actively educates young men and boys about domestic violence, and works to undo cultural gender norms that leave women at a disadvantage. Click to donate.

Small Projects Istanbul

This five-story Istanbul community center assists vulnerable women, refugees and families. In addition to providing children with classes, playtime and sports enrichment, it offers a wealth of resources for women in need. These resources include education, counseling, cultural assimilation programs, and the Women’s Social Enterprise project—an opportunity for women to earn a small income via craftmaking. Click to Donate.

We Will Stop Femicide

Founded by the families of murdered women in Turkey, We Will Stop Femicide provides legal assistance to women in danger, fights cases on behalf of women who have been killed, educates Turkish women about their rights, and campaigns for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. Its members include women in government, bar associations, business associations, trade unions and other concerned citizens. While there is no way to donate via their website, the organization has an online form for those who want to contribute, and asks that the public spread their message.

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