The 4th International Day of the Girl Child Conference, co-organized by Aydın Doğan foundation, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women was held on October 11th at the Hilton Convention Center. The conference focused on revealing the full potential of girls to shape the future of societies, eliminate obstacles they face and create social awareness on gender equality. During the sessions panelists who had national and international achievements in science, arts and sports and who are role models to girls shared their own success stories and views. All panelists gather on a common idea that is combining education with science, arts and sports will contribute to development of girls and the society.
Gender Equality Program Coordinator from United Nations Population Fund, Meltem Ağduk who attended the conference with her speech indicated that “A wall rises like a universal resistance wall in front of us in the form of discrimination and social gender inequality for girls and women in the world wherever we are despite all developed laws, issued policies and universal goals. Unfortunately this wall makes our girls invisible. We don’t hear them, we don’t listen to them and even if we hear them and we don’t see them”.
In her speech Ağduk pointed out that “However, if we hear and listen to them, they will tell us the discriminative attitude and behavior they face as a result of sex role stereotypes in social life, family, school and everywhere. They are aware of both what they are exposed to and what can be the solution. They are aware how much the resistance wall that is in front of them has been raised by means of financial impossibilities, inability to benefit education opportunities, sex role stereotypes in social life because this problem and the barriers they face are a part of their daily lives.
Gender Equality Program Coordinator from United Nations Population Fund, Meltem Ağduk completed her speech indicating that “A strong society can only be formed when the power of girls is unleashed. This is only possible when laws and national and international goals are in harmony; and societies, governments, national and international institutions, and individuals work together”.
UNFPA Turkey Spokesperosn, Successful Artist Songül Öden, attended the panel titled “Role Models for Children and Young People” at International Day of the Girl Child Conference 4th of which organized this year.
Öden who called out to girls attending the conference shared her memories and advised that they should not get conditioned to be “perfect”.
In her speech the Spokesperson Öden indicated that “Being unsuccessful is normal as much as being successful. If we don’t fall, we can’t stand up”.
Successful artist pointed out their narrowing elbow room as long as the girls grow up and highlighted that women are being compared to each other starting from their childhood. She expressed the poverty of the understanding where everyone is dedifferentiated with disregarding the differences.
Öden who stated that “We should see any misfortune like a gift; each barrier is an opportunity to develop and change ourselves” continued as follows; The conditionings like “You cannot do it”, “that’s way out of your league”, “This is not appropriate for us” where the phrase “I believe in you but not the environment” is given as an excuse, are actually a type of unaware violence on children imposed by the society; this can only make our girls fall in dastard”.
UNFPA Turkey Spokesperson Songül Öden expressed that people may sometimes hesitate about his/her own skills on the road to success and about the concept of what is success but all of these challenges can be overcome by the trust and belief in themselves and she talked about her experiences.
Öden who was listened to with interest by the attending girls in the conference, completed her speech as follows; “The different one is beautiful, don’t be afraid of being different, don’t feel yourself bad when you are different. Actually, I advise you to think twice if you try to be the same with others.”
Another speechmaker attended the International Day of the Girl Child Conference was the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Spokesperson Azra Akin. In the panel titled “Role Models for Children and Young People”, the UNFPA Spokesperson gave a message particularly to the girls attending the conference and stated that “There is no one like you. Don’t forget it. Don’t try to be like others. Don’t let the effort of perfectionism to stop you. Human mostly hinders itself “.
UNFPA Spokesperson Akın shared the background of her knowledge on life with the girls attending the conference based on her experiences. Akın who stated that she has undertaken very hard responsibilities in her early ages indicated that “Representing a country when you were very young is a great responsibility. After sometime, you start to pressurize yourself and start to think twice or triple times about each of your step. At that time, you prefer to stop instead of moving so as to not to make a mistake. Do not hinder yourselves, don’t be afraid to develop and making mistakes.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Spokesperson Azra Akın gave video message to girls that was serviced at the end of the conference “Be aware of your power, all of you are unique, there is no one like you in the World. So be brave. I still try to learn a lot of things about being brave in my life. Don’t try to be perfect. I know this. This paralyses people. So don’t stop. Be unsuccessful but don’t stop, continue and be brave”.