Symposium on Vocational Training and Employment of Women Held at CoHE
December 13, 2017 / Ankara
Jülide Sarıeroğlu, Minister of Labor and Social Security, and Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Minister of Family and Social Policy, attended the "Symposium on Vocational Training and Employment of Women" held at CoHE.
Some members of the Parliament, rectors and vice rectors of universities, officials from women's studies centers of universities, related academics, women entrepreneurs and students from various universities participated in the symposium. They discussed the challenges and solutions regarding the employment of women.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç, Minister of Labor and Social Security Jülide Sarıeroğlu and Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya delivered a speech at the opening of the symposium.
CoHE President Prof. Dr. M. A. Yekta Saraç began his speech by stating that the Council of Higher Education organized the program in line with the importance they place on the vocational training of women.
President Saraç stated that vocational training was considered important in the 10th Development Plan covering the years 2014-2018 and said, "The number of students in higher education that were receiving vocational training in vocational schools was 2 million 566 thousand -or 33%- in 2017. %48 of them were female students."
He noted that the Unit of Women's Studies in Academia of the Council of Higher Education met with the officials of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, directors of vocational schools and units of women's studies in various workshops that were held in the 2016-2017 academic year, adding that they had been carrying out studies under the title "Empowering Female Students and Role Models" which was about increasing the employment of women in the country and ensuring the female students graduating from vocational schools to have a role in economic growth and sustainable development in the workshops.
CoHE President underlined that women's participation in economic life and their status moving up to the top in society is a sign of the development of a country and said, "There has been a significant increase in women's participation and employment in the workforce especially in the last decade in our country. It is aimed to increase the rate of women's participation in the workforce, which was 32.5% in 2016, to 41% by 2023."
In addition to vocational training in vocational schools that teach sufficient vocational skills to students, CoHE President Saraç said that the Council of Higher Education also attaches importance to increasing the contribution of the business world to vocational training, ensuring that the sector would look after graduates and putting forward the policies for "Empowering Training" for female students who received training in vocational schools.
"According to the Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum in November 2017, Turkey is ranked 131 among 144 countries and is among the lowest-ranked countries among the OECD member countries in women's participation in the workforce. However, Turkey has a good ranking in the education of women in the statistics. Our goal is not only to better educate this valuable group of women but also to promote them in the business world.
Studies show that the gross national product of Turkey could rise to 20% if the rate of women's participation in the workforce, which was around 34% in 2017, would increase to the OECD average of 63% by 2025. We need to make visible efforts about this topic. The examples in the world statistics reveal that we can reach our goals in 3 to 5 years if we can put clear concepts and programs before us."
He concluded his speech by stating that he believed the symposium would raise vital awareness about the issue.
Click here to read the full transcript of the speech made by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç. (In Turkish)
Minister of Labor and Social Security Jülide Sarıeroğlu delivered a speech after CoHE President Saraç's speech. She said that they observed a significant rise both in women's participation in the workforce and employment rate as a result of the increase in the level of education.
Sarıeroğlu pointed out the importance of equipping women with new qualifications that are in line with the needs and expectations of the working life and emphasized that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security has been vigilant in this sense.
Minister Sarıeroğlu noted that Turkey will be stronger if there are powerful women and said:
"If women do not actively take part in the working life and in the growth and development process of Turkey, our growth and development process will be incomplete and inadequate.
7 million 775 thousand people have joined the workforce in the last 10 years. We were able to provide employment for 6.5 million people, 3 million of which are women. This is the main indicator that shows the female-oriented success story of Turkey about the employment of women. It is pleasing to see that the increase in the employment of women in Turkey has exceeded 50% while the employment rate for women in the member countries of the European Union is around 4%. Turkey has an increase rate of the employment of women that is almost equivalent to the population of a country."
Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya said that they had made constitutional and legal provisions in order to take reformative steps in the last 15 years.
Minister Kaya noted that the Minister of Family and Social Policy had been carrying out its main policies in order to strengthen the social status of women, ensure equal opportunity for men and women and prevent violence and abuse against women and said, "In a country where a woman is strong, families and the society will also be strong."
She noted that the Ministry should carry out more studies in the future in order to ensure that female students would prefer the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in vocational schools, which have a significant role in vocational training and said, "We have been working with the goal of "powerful women, powerful families, powerful society" as we are preparing for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey."
She said that making vocational training more appealing for girls was also extremely important in increasing the employment rate of women in Turkey, noting that Turkey has made significant progress with the action plans prepared in three topics, which are empowerment of women, prevention of violence against women and fight against early and forced marriage.
She informed the participants about the study entitled "Unemployment Problem of Young Girls Graduating from Vocational High Schools and Vocational Schools and Solutions" that has been carried out by the Ministry and the Unit of Women's Studies in Academia of CoHE and stated that they have been discussing the problems female students face during their education in vocational schools, their employment after graduation and their working lives and the steps to be take in the future.
Following the speeches, Assoc. Prof. Dr. E. Sare Aydın Yılmaz from Istanbul Commerce University moderated the opening panel, which was held with the participation of Radiye Sezer Katırcıoğlu, Chairperson of the Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men of GNAT, Prof. Dr. Lale Tokgözoğlu from Hacettepe University and Prof. Dr. Timur Gültekin from Ankara University.
After the opening panel, Prof. Dr. Nigar Demircan Çakar, Rector of Düzce University, chaired the section in which some participants made presentations.
Zuhal Erol, faculty member at Sakarya University, made a presentation entitled "How Does Vocational Training Affect Quality Employment for Women? A Good Practice: 3+1 Education Model at Sakarya University". Asst. Prof. Dr. N. Özlem Ünverdi from Yıldız Technical University made a presentation entitled "Women's Status and Performance in Vocational Training". Asst. Prof. Dr. Fatma Çelik from Ahi Evran University made a presentation entitled "The First Professional Women's Organization in the World: Bacıyan-ı Rum". Mine Demir, research assistant at Bartın University, made a presentation entitled "Assessment on the Current Contributions of Policies for Women in Vocational Training since the Ottoman Period".
Following the question and answer session, Prof. Dr. Serpil Sancar from Ankara University delivered the closing address on the evaluation of the symposium.