Guler Sabancı, Chairman Of Sabancı Holding, Has Signed Ceo Statement Of Support For The Womens Empowerment Principles

10.05.2011
  • GULER SABANCI, CHAIRMAN OF SABANCI HOLDING, HAS SIGNED CEO STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE WOMENS EMPOWERMENT PRINCIPLES
  • SABANCI HOLDING IS THE FIRST TURKISH SIGNATORY
  • SABANCI HOLDING CHAIRMAN GULER SABANCI: "IN ORDER TO CREATE CHANGE, PRIVATE ENTERPRISES AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS HAVE TO WORK HAND IN HAND."
  • "WHEN WE SIGNED THE WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT PRINCIPLES, WE, AS SABANCI, SHOWED OUR SUPPORT TO THE CAUSE OF GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORK PLACE"
  • "WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE STANDARD BEARERS OF THIS NOBLE CAUSE"
  • "SOCIAL CHANGE IS LIKE FARMING. IT NEEDS PATIENCE AND LOYALTY."

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Sabancı Holding has signed the CEO Statement of Support For Womens Empowerment Princeples and became the first Turkish signatory. Guler Sabancı has signed and submitted the statement to Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women and former president of Chilie Michelle Bachalet after her closing speeech at The Business and Development Cases for Engaging Women in Global Value Chains" meeting.

Güler Sabancı stated in her speech that "Gender equality and women's empowerment  are human rights that lie at the heart of development and the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.

Despite the strides taken, six out of ten of the world's poorest people  are still women and girls; less than 16 percent of the world's parliamentarians are women;

two thirds of all children shut outside the school gates are girls and; both in times of armed conflict and behind closed doors at home, women are still systematically subjected to violence.

66% of all work in the world is carried out by women.  However, women only own 10% of the total global income, and only 1% of global wealth. That is to say men conduct only 34% of the work, yet they receive 90% of the total income and own 99% of all wealth. The picture is not better in Turkey. 12% of all women in Turkey cannot read or write.  Out of 100 women who go to school, only 2 of them end up attending high school.  40% of all women with a higher education between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed.  And only 27% of all Turkish women join the workforce.

A recent study at the University of California argues that women excel at "transformational" and "interactive" management.  And according to the book "A Woman's Place is in the Boardroom",  women are "better lateral thinkers than men" and "more idealistic."  Until recently, all these qualities were regarded as less than desirable. 

Whereas now, academic studies as well as personal confessions from business circles indicate that male executives have to be more transformative and more connected  - they have to be more like us.

So, a glass ceiling exists everywhere.  And there are differences in gender equality when it comes to different levels of companies, or different sectors.

But, at Sabancı, we are working to overcome it. 

Since 2006, we have increased the amount of women executives from 23% to 26% in 2010.  And in our bank, 55% of all employees are women.

But this is not enough.  In order to make sure we rectify this, private enterprises and public institutions have to work hand in hand.  This must be a crusade for all of us!

We believe in this wholeheartedly in Sabancı, which is why we are proud to have partnered with the UN in our social responsibility platform.  We have a "Joint Program to Promote and Protect Human Rights of Women and Girls," which involves all of the United Nations agencies, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Sabancı Foundation and the Sabancı University.  The Joint Program offers a platform where UN organizations, local governments, public institutions, non-governmental organizations and private sector institutions can work together towards long-lasting results with reference to gender equality and women's rights.  One of the main goals of the UN Joint Programme is to increase the involvement of women in local government and decision making mechanisms. So our main goal is to achieve social change!

Achieving social change is like farming.  It requires a lot of hard work; there is a lot of sweating, pain, and patience involved. It is not like hunting, where you decide on your game, get equipped, go out and hunt.  That is supposed to be business. But social change is about changing mindsets.  It's about confidence building.  It's about learning to stand up and collectively working for your rights! 

Other Turkish NGO's are also making strides towards increasing women's and girls' awareness of their rights in society.  Because, that is where it all starts.

When we signed the Women's Empowerment Principles, we, as Sabancı, showed our support to the cause of gender equality in the work place.  This is why we believe it is crucial we sign the Women's Empowerment Principles, so that we may start a positive change. I am proud to sign this document on behalf of all the employees of Sabancı Holding. We are the first Turkish company to do so and we hope that others will follow suit.  We will continue to be the standard bearers of this noble cause in both domestic and global business circles."

The Women's Empowerment Principles are a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe. Rather than being prescriptive or a new initiative to which business is asked to subscribe, the WEPs seek to point the way to best practice by elaborating the gender dimension of good corporate citizenship, the UN Global Compact, and business' role in sustainable development. The WEPs are the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact. The Principles were developed through a year-long international multi-stakeholder consultation process and launched to the global community on International Women's Day 2010. It has now been signed by over 180 chief executives of companies around the world.

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CEO Statement of Support

We, business leaders from across the globe, express support for advancing equality between women and men to:

  • Bring the broadest pool of talent to our endeavours;
  • Further our companies' competitiveness;
  • Meet our corporate responsibility and sustainability commitments;
  • Model behaviour within our companies that reflects the society we would like for our employees, fellow citizens and families;
  • Encourage economic and social conditions that provide opportunities for women and men, girls and boys; and
  • Foster sustainable development in the countries in which we operate.

Therefore, we welcome the provisions of the Women's Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business, produced and disseminated by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact. The Principles present seven steps that business and other sectors can take to advance and empower women.

Equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do - it is also good for business. The full participation of women in our enterprises and in the larger community makes sound business sense now and in the future. A broad concept of sustainability and corporate responsibility that embraces women's empowerment as a key goal will benefit us all. The seven steps of the Women's Empowerment Principles will help us realize these opportunities.

We encourage business leaders to join us and use the Principles as guidance for actions that we can all take in the workplace, marketplace and community to empower women and benefit our companies and societies. We will strive to use sex-disaggregated data in our sustainability reporting to communicate our progress to our own stakeholders.

Please join us.