International Women’s Day and School Ceremony

ENGLISH | TÜRKÇE

Today is March 8th International Working Women’s Day, which means that it’s been nearly 160 years since textile worker women demanded better working conditions which resulted in them being locked in the factory to get away from the police and then losing their lives because of the fire that broke out in the factory. During those 160 years, we didn’t gave up and obtained our basic human rights one by one. Whereas today rights such as the right to vote, to be held equal with men before the law and equal pay are normal in western societies, in eastern countries many girls still hold their first child before they hold a pencil. This alone shows us that there’s still a long way to go and we can’t let the awareness people show be limited to today.

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In order to raise awareness as the Women’s Rights Club, we organized a ceremony in our school in which students performed theatrical shows, songs and gave speeches about issues women face today such as domestic violence, sexual harrassment, poor working conditions and so on. There are many issues and points to discuss but I especially wanted to mention a brilliant and remarkable peer of mine, Malala Yousafzai, in my speech. I’m sure you’ll see why I did such a thing when you read my speech below.

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I celebrate everybody’s women’s day!

When Malala Yousafzai was only 15 years old, Taliban gave her death order. What could a girl who’s just 15 years old have done to become the target of a terrorist organization? The only reason why Malala was shot in the schoolbus on her way to school, was because she’d stood up for girls’ right to get a proper education by starting a blog. After the attack, she didn’t give up and continued to attract an even wider audience which gained her the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 years old and made her the youngest Nobel Peace Prize owner. With the Malala Fund, she helped hundreds of girls get education in countries such as Lebanon, Pakistan and Syria. She changed the lives of thousands of people in her life of 19 years.

Even though such a struggle is necessary simply for elementary education, the current situation in Turkey isn’t very bright as well. In 2015, the boy/girl ratio was near 1 for elementary schools, in secondary schools and universities there were 6 girls for every 10 boys and the percentage of women who were employed were only 27,6% with only 1 out of 10 senior managers being female. This gets even worse, only 2% of the CEOs were women. Whereas the two sides begin their academic career 50%/50%, as we climb the corporate ladder we see a drastic increase in the gap as wide as 98% males to 2% females.

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Malala’s battle should be guide for us. We’re not ahead of the schedule to raise awareness or to trigger a change and in fact we’re already too late. When founding the Women’s Rights Club this year, all I hoped was to bring those matters into the agenda and to change something. Even though we’ve accomplished a lot, there’s still a long road ahead of us and lots of obstacles to overcome.The tiniest feeling that you’re going to experience or the smallest will to take an action during this ceremony will be more than enough for us. Today, March 8th International Women’s Day, women and men together all around the globe, is the perfect time to become conscious and overcome the inequality that lies deep down in our society.

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