Although the Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence (SU Gender) was officially established in 2015, the point that we as Sabancı University faculty members, students and administrative staff started working on gender, building awareness, educating ourselves, taking strength in one another dates back to 2006.The 2006-2007 academic year was a milestone year in which gender studies started to take root at Sabancı University. In 2006, a group of volunteers comprising students, faculty and administrative staff came together, and after months of research and discussion about how to prevent sexual harassment at the university and about the practices at other universities around the world, we came together and wrote the Sabancı University Sexual Harassment Policy Statement. This directive, implemented in 2007, also constituted a historic step in regards to universities in Turkey. Another exciting project whose seeds were planted in 2006-2007 was the Purple Certificate Program, which is carried out by high school teachers from various provinces around Turkey under the framework of the UN Joint Program for the Development of Women and Children’s Human Rights. Both projects were implemented with the support of our founding rector, Tosun Terzioğlu, and with the enthusiastic participation of volunteers from various faculties and units of the university. 
These seeds, which were planted 10 years ago, have grown into a tree whose branches are growing and diversifying with each passing day. After coming together through the Purple Certificate Program and sexual harassment prevention committee work in 2006, we then founded the Gender Forum in 2010.. In 2015, we were recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Sabanci University Board of Trustees, and in 2016, we were granted the status of Application and Research Center (UYGAR) by the Higher Education Council of Turkey (YÖK). We now continue our work as SU Gender.

The Purple Certificate Program, which we lead initially with the support of UNDP and continued since 2007 with the support of the Sabanci Foundation, has reached over 3000 high school teachers from 17 different cities, and has made it possible for many high school and middle school teachers, as well as education faculty students, to receive intensive and holistic gender training. Through the incorporation of new projects and initiatives, the program continues to grow, expand and open new horizons for us all.

Since 2014 we have been leading Curious Steps: Gender and Memory Walks, which make possible a view of our city and its neighborhood from a gender and memory perspective, and which allow the exploration of many “hidden” stories. With LGBTI and women’s stories transmitted from the perspectives and voices of young volunteers, we are building new bridges between the past, present, and future.

Since 2010, we have been organizing the annual Dicle Koğacıoğlu Article Award in partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, opening new doors and bringing together young researchers working on gender.

Each year, international conferences organized on topics such as gender in academia, female photographers, peace studies, literature, and other related topics gather together academics, researchers and activists from various geographies and disciplines. These conferences contribute to sharing experiences and new cooperations, and to strengthening ourselves through developing partnerships.

Panels, talks, forums, and adult education activities organized in Tuzla and Karaköy create dynamic discussion and sharing spaces for academics and students, just as they also allow for the meeting of academics from outside the university and for wider audiences to be brought together.



-To struggle against all forms of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, ethnic background, class, or faith;

-To create discussion and sharing environments that support pluralism, creativity, equality and solidarity;

-To base our understanding on a collective, transparent, participative, multi-vocal and open communication-based work and decision-making process;

-To make academic knowledge open to everyone; and to strengthen the flow of information and effectiveness between academia, civil society, politics and everyday life.

What’s good for us when we’re all together? 

-to work in a sincere, safe, and creative environment;

-to give priority to sharing experiences;

-to be based on feminist policies and solidarity together in action;

-to know and own the value of our own work and serve as a trailblazer for similar types of work;

-to appreciate our colleagues and to nourish teamwork;

-to have fun together and to show resistance to hardships together instead of hiding them;

-to go beyond the ordinary, to make a difference, and to see that we can reach people.

Where do we see the difference of SU Gender? 

-To carry out projects in various fields without being restricted to academic studies;

-To value other studies on gender equality and to open space for them, to amplify our voices along with the voices of others;

-To produce works like the Purple Certificate Program, Curious Steps, and the Dicle Koğacıoğlu Article Award that make an impact in the field and lead the way for similar projects;

-To develop platforms that bring together academics, employees and students within the university; 

-To reach people outside the university from different walks of life and points of view;

-To contribute to the accessibility of academic knowledge through the international meetings we organize; 

-To create discussion spaces to speak about difficult or risky topics;

-To produce meeting and project formats that break the mold,

-To cultivate, encourage each other’s areas of interest, and to introduce fruitful production processes.

Special thanks...

For SU Gender to continue to open new windows and make valuable sharing possible, there are many people in the background watering this tree every day with their hard work. From the first day we came together until now, many faculty members and students from within the university and beyond have shared their knowledge and experiences as a part of our various programs. Thanks to the Sabanci University Board of Trustees Chair and members, the rector, and deans’ belief in us, the active support of all the university's administrative units, the participation from everyone giving life to SU Gender with their exciting and creative energy, and all the listeners, speakers, discussants, educators, students, storytellers, budget managers, photographers, assistants, volunteers, and advisory board members, we continue to move forward together due to the participation of every single person who has taken part in our projects.

As SU Gender, if we are able to resolutely increase "feminist curiosity," awareness, and solidarity, strengthen our roots, and turn our faces to the future with hope and excitement, we owe it to each participant who has walked together with us and supported us so much.


Ayfer Bartu CandanAyfer Bartu Candan

Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, Sociology Department, Boğaziçi University

Ayşe KadıoğluAyşe Kadıoğlu

Professor of Political Science, Sabancı University

Didem DanışDidem Danış

Professor of Sociology, Galatasaray University

Dilek CindoğluDilek Cindoğlu

Yaşar University, Professor of Sociology

Hülya ŞimgaHülya Şimga

Professor of Philosophy, Antalya Belek University

Melda ÇeleMelda Çele

Executive Director of UN Global Compact Türkiye

Nevgül Bilsel SafkanNevgül Bilsel Safkan

Vice Chairperson of Board of Trustees and Executive Committee

Begüm AcarBegüm Acar

SU Gender Administrative Affairs Leader

bçBerfin Çiçek

Purple Certificate Project Specialist

burcuBurcu Borhan Türeli

ACCTING Project Specialist

Elif BirbiriElif Birbiri

SU Gender Administrative Affairs Specialist

esinEsin Düzel

ACCTING Project Specialist

Marhabo SaparovaMarhabo Saparova

Project Specialist

Meriç ÇağlarMeriç Çağlar

Express 2 Project Specialist

Nazlı HazarNazlı Hazar

Purple Certificate Program Coordinator

Zeynep Gülru GökerZeynep Gülru Göker

SU Gender Director



Gender Forum / SU Gender Director:  Sibel Irzık (2010-2016), Ayşe Gül Altınay (2016-2019), Hülya Adak (2019-2022)

Gender Forum / SU Gender Coordinator: Ayşe Yüksel (2011-2016)

Education Coordinator: Emirhan Deniz Çelebi (2018-2022)

Executive Board Members (2016-)

2016-2018: Ayşe Betül Çelik, Ayşe Gül Altınay, Deniz Tarba Ceylan, İlker Birbil, Ruken Alp

2018-2020: Ayşe Gül Altınay, Ayşecan Terzioğlu, Cenk Özbay, Emine Süphan Bakkal, Hülya Adak

Advisory Board Members (2016-)

Andrea Petö, Betül Kacar, Bilge Demirköz, Cynthia Cockburn, Cynthia Enloe, Deniz Kandiyoti, Fatmagül Berktay, İpek Gürkaynak, Karin Karakaşlı, Kenan Çayır, Meral Akkent, Mert Fırat, Nadje Al-Ali, Nazlı Ümit Boyner, Nebahat Akkoç, Nihat Berker, Richa Nagar, Sanem Oktar, Serpil Sancar, Yeşim Arat, Zerrin Koyunsağan 

Gender Forum/ SU Gender Assistants (2010-2020)

Bürge Abiral, Özgül Akıncı, Ceren Aydın, Derya Aydın, İrem Az, Veli Başyiğit, Elif Binici, Ece Başay, Pınar Budan, Servet Büyükkuşoğlu, Bade Nur Çayır, Doğu Durgun, Yasemin Belkıs Duru, Pınar Ensari, Dilan Eren, Selen Erdoğan, Hilal Gül, Pınar Gümüş, Serkan İlaslaner, Şeyda Şükran İşler, Fulya Kama, Erdem Kayserilioğlu, Münevver Kınalı, Ediz Kömüryakan, Alihan Köse, Elif Kurtuluş, Ebrar Nefes, Özge Olcay, Derya Özkaya, Naz İlay Özbay, Lara Güney Özlen, Marhabo Saparova, Betül Sarı, Zulal Sunaçoğlu, Gamze Tosun, Nihan Türegün, Ercan Usta, Sinan Usta, Ezgi Uzun, Aslı Aygüneş, Melis Üstün, Ece Yenmez, Burcu Yoleri, Ayşe Şanlı, Bade Çayır, Cemre Zekiroğlu, Ebrar Nefes, Gizem Damla Cakmak Eres, İpek Tabur, Janine Rich, Laura Elise Neumann, Naz İlay Özbay, Nazlı Hazar, Reşat Şaban, Serhat Kaçan, Tuğba Yavuz, Zeynep Özgül, Yusuf Traşçı, Elif Erol, Ogün Demirci, Kayra Ezgi Topkara, Ayşe Ceren Ulusoy, Dicle Kızılkan, Oğuz Can Ok, Fulya Kama Özelkan, Berfin Çiçek, Enis Demirer




Founding Members: Alev Topuzoğlu, Annedith Schneider, Ayşe Kadıoğlu, Ayşe Betül Çelik, Ayşe Gül Altınay, Deniz Tarba Ceylan, Dicle Koğacıoğlu, Gülayşe Koçak, Huriye Arıkan, Hülya Adak

Coordinator: Hülya Adak (2006-2009), Ayşe Betül Çelik (2010-2011), Ayşe Yüksel (2008-2011), Olcay Özer (2012- 2015), Ayşegül Taşıtman (2016-2018), Ceyda Karadaş Terzioğlu (2018-2023)

Assistants: Olcay Özer (2009-2011), Armanc Yıldız (2014-2015), Betül Sarı (2016-2018), Emine Ebru Çitil (2018-2019), Tuğba Yavuz (2019)

Program Trainers (2006-2018)

Akşin Somel, Alev Topuzoğlu, Arzu Şenyurt, Aslı İkizoğlu, Aslıhan Ünsal, Ateş Altınordu, Aylin Vartanyan, Aynur Yıldıran, Ayşe Betül Çelik, Ayşe Gül Altınay, Ayşe Şentürk, Ayşecan Terzioğlu, Ayşegül Bayar, Ayşegül Taşıtman, Ayşen Candaş, Ayşen Ufuk Sezgin, Ayten Sönmez, Ayzin Çelik, Başak Tuğ, Begüm Acar, Beril Taşkın, Bilhan Gözcü, Borhan Sayedy, Çağla Aydın, Cenk Özbay, Ceren Acartürk, Ceyda Karadaş, Çiçek Tahaoğlu, Cihan Koral Malak, Deniz Gündoğan, Deniz Tarba Ceylan, Ebru Çitil, Ebru Nihan Celkan, Efsun Sertoğlu, Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, Emrah Kurum, Ender Cesur, Erdal Demirağ, Esin Düzel, Evra Çetin, Fahriye Dinçer, Fatmagül Berktay, Ferda Ülker, Feride Güneri, Feyza Akınerdem, Füsun Kayatürk, Gökçeçiçek Ayata, Gözde Ertekin, Gülayşe Koçak, Gülhan Balsoy, Gülru Göker, Halim Kır, Halime Güner, Hazal Halavut, Hülya Adak, Hülya Durudoğan, Huriye Arıkan, İkbal Polat, İlayda Ece Ova, İlker Birbil, İnanç Sümbüloğlu, İnci Kerestecioğlu, İpek Gürkaynak, İştar Gözaydın, Kadriye Bakırcı, Kenan Çayır, Lülüfer Körükmez, Mehmet Bozok, Melek Göregenli, Melike Ergün, Melisa Soran, Meral Güçeri, Mert Koçak, Midori Koçak, Muhtar Çokar, Mutlu Öztürk, Nazlı Eda Noyan, Nazlı Hazar, Nilüfer Kafescioğlu, Nurcan Çetinbaş, Nurgül Öz, Özge Akbulut, Pınar Arkan, Pınar Ege, Pınar Yolum, Reyhan Tutumlu, Rûken Alp, Şahika Yüksel, Selen Çatalyürekli, Selin Altunkaynak, Selmin Cansu Demir, Serap Özer, Serpil Sancar, Seven Kaptan, Sevilay Çelenk, Sevim Can, Sibel Irzık, Süphan Bakkal, Tuğba Yıldırım, Üzüm Derin Solak, Yeşim Er, Yeşim Selçuk, Yeşim Sünbüloğlu, Yıldız Ramazanoğlu, Zeynep İskenderoğlu Önel, Zeynep Yeke

Çağdaş Drama Derneği, Eğitim Reformu Girişimleri, Eksi25 Derneği, Filmmor Kadın Kooperatifi, KAMER, Listag Aileleri, Öğretmen Ağı, SEÇBİR Öğretmenleri, Uçan Süpürge


Coordinators: Dilara Çalışkan (2014-2016), Sema Semih (2016- 2020)

Project Specialists: Selen Çatalyürekli (2018-2019), İlayda Ece Ova (2018-2019)


Coordinator: Sema Semih (2017-2020)

Project Specialist: Berfu Serçe (2020)


GEARING-Roles/ Araştırma Kurumlarında Toplumsal Cinsiyet Rollerini Dönüştürmek İçin Cinsiyet Eşitliği Eylemleri (2021-2023)

Proje sorumlusu: İlayda Ece Ova (2018-2022), Fulya Kama Özelkan (2022-2023)

WHOLE-COMM/ 2014 Sonrası Göçmenlerin Küçük ve Orta Ölçekli Kasabalarda ve Kırsal Alanlardaki (KOŞKA) Uyumunun Bütüncül Toplum Perspektifinden Değerlendirilmesi (2020-2024)

Proje sorumlusu: Meral Açıkgöz (2021-2022), Zeynep Ceren Eren Benlisoy (2021-2023)

As Gender Forum and SU Gender, we would like to thank for their valuable contributions in different periods:

Alev Topuzoğlu, Annedith Schneider, Arzu Bolgül, Ayşe Kadıoğlu, Ayşe Öncü, Ayşe Gül Altınay, Ayşecan Terzioğlu, Ayten Sönmez, Deniz Tarba Ceylan, Dicle Koğacıoğlu, Emine Süphan Bakkal, Gülayşe Koçak, Huriye Arıkan, Hülya Adak, Işık Özel, İlker Birbil, Meral Güçeri, Nakiye Boyacıgiller, Reyhan Tutumlu, Ruken Alp, Selen Erdoğan, Serap Özer, Sibel Irzık, Şirin Tekinay, Tara Hopkins, Tülay Artan, Zehra Sayers, Zeynep İskenderoğlu