ILO in Turkey launches “Gender Equality Model in SMEs”

ilo-kobiTurkey will be the first country where the ILO’s newly developed model “Gender Equality Programme in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)” is to be fully implemented at global level.

The launch meeting was held on 22 October 2018 in Istanbul for the “Gender Equality in SMEs Programme” (MIGSCORE) which was developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to improve gender equality in the world of work, for which Turkey will be the first country of full-scale implementation at global level.

Developed by the ILO Office for Turkey with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), MIGSCORE aims to improve productivity and thereby competitiveness, as well as working conditions in small and medium-sized enterprises, and strengthen the organisational change towards gender equality.

MIGSCORE implementation in Turkey due to demand from private sector

Building on the “Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Programme” being implemented by ILO for approximately ten years, this programme will be implemented in Turkey fully as the first time upon intensive interest and demand from the private sector.

Speaking at the launch event, Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey, said: “We, as ILO, hold in top priority the prevention of discrimination in the world of work and enabling all women and men to equally access all rights and opportunities, because the economic and human development of a country can be achieved only through women being empowered, visible and equal in all spheres of life.”

Noting that “I Support Equality!” seminars were given to approximately 2,000 working women and mostly men at many enterprises under the project “More and Better Jobs for Women” implemented by the ILO Office for Turkey, Mr. Özcan added: “We have seen that the private sector is most enthusiastic to participate in the work supporting gender equality at work.”

He elaborated that “therefore, we have decided to develop a more comprehensive model, i.e. MIGSCORE, to further advance gender equality at enterprises, upon requests both from employees and employers following the seminars.”

Stating that it is a strong economic policy to increase the number of women in business and trade, Ms. Therese Hyden, Swedish Consul at Istanbul, added that “statistics show that gender equality contributes significantly to higher growth in all countries regardless of development level in each.”

Hyden noted that “research demonstrated that women’s participation in the labour force leads to a more developed society. Through such participation and relying on their income, women contribute not only to the local economy but also invest in the education and health of their children. Therefore, work is not only a right, but also an investment in economic empowerment of women.”

At the launch meeting, Ms. Bertha Trevisi, ILO MIGSCORE Programme Coordinator, provided information on the programme.

Programme aims to embed gender equality in organisational culture

Under the MIGSCORE programme, training events are organised and one-on-one consulting services are provided to enterprises to promote the embedding of gender equality in organisational culture and functioning. The programme focuses on five key areas of gender equality in the world of work, namely work-private life balance, voice equality, equal pay for equal work, inclusive employment, work environment and good treatment.

Highlighting the interlinkages of productivity, working conditions and equal opportunities for men and women, the programme will first be piloted in enterprises selected from the INDITEX supply chain.

The Gender Equality Programme in SMEs is expected to create workplaces based on equal treatment and cooperation of all, improving the work environment, boosting productivity at enterprises, enhancing competitiveness through responsible practices, and contributing to monitoring the progress through data collection.

The pilot application in Turkey started with the launch event, and then continued with a Training of Trainers event on 22-26 October 2018 in Istanbul.