First phase: April 29 – May 2, 2004
The first phase of the joint project of the Center of Women's Studies and Policies Foundation, Sofia and KA-DER Association for Supporting and Training Women Candidates, Ankara was completed successfully. The Turkish partners visited Sofia (April 29 – May 2) where was held an expert meeting of the two teams and a conference for women’s NGOs.
The project is focused on the development of a joint monitoring and training program of women’s NGOs in Bulgaria and Turkey on acquis communautaire in equal opportunities for women and men. It aims to encourage the civil participation in the accession process in Turkey and Bulgaria as well as initiating a bilateral network of NGOs in both countries for joint initiatives in the field of equal opportunities.
The Bulgarian team presented the developed methodology for training Turkish women’s NGOs in EU equal opportunities legislation. Two experts from the Partnership for Equality Center, Bucharest shared their experience in the monitoring process of the legislation as the leading country of the completed in 2002 Program on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men in the European Accession Process of the Open Society Institute. The experience of this large-scale initiative will be implemented successfully in Turkey as well.
The foreign partners were invited by government officials from the European Integration Department of the Council of Ministers. They shared their experience in the implementation of state policies for gender equality in Turkey. The project provoked the interest of the media as well. The participants were interviewed by a team from the Panorama program for political review of Channel 1 of the Bulgarian National Television and thus popularized broadly the initiative.
Within the framework of the project was organized a meeting of Bulgarian NGOs and institutions with the guests from Turkey and Romania. During the interesting and lively discussion the partners from Ankara also gave a short account of the recently held (end of March, 2004) local elections in our southern neighbor. They expressed their regret that women’s representation at local level in Turkey is traditionally very low – about 1.5-2%. However, this year’s results are even lower – only 0.5% of the mayors of municipalities and smaller communities are women. This can be explained with the unwillingness of women to participate in political parties, because they are usually placed in unelectable positions of the lists. At the end of the meeting both organizers and participants expressed a shared opinion that the women’s organizations in the region have already had many achievements and will continue to be involved in solving occurring problems concerning gender equality and harmonization of their national legislations in the EU accession process.
The project will end in September 2004 with a final meeting in Ankara, where both partners will start the pilot training of Turkish women’s NGOs in acquis communautaire in equal opportunities for women and men.
The project is financially supported by the Civil Partnership for European Integration Program of the Open Society Institute, Sofia.