Panel Focused on Gender Mechanisms in Academia
SU Gender and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute put together a workshop to discuss topics related to women in academia, ranging from equality mechanisms to the struggle against sexual harassment.
Academics, civil society representatives, workers and volunteers of gender and women’s studies research and implementation centers from various cities came together for the workshop, titled “Gender Equality Mechanisms in Universities and Examples of Institutionalization.”
Organized by SU Gender and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, the workshop took place at Sabancı University’s Minerva Palace campus.
Participants discussed gender equality, ways of institutionalizing gender equality in universities, ways of overcoming obstacles and aims for the future.
In their opening remarks, Şirin Tekinay, Vice President of Research and Development at Sabancı University, and İlhami Alkan Olsson, the director of Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s Turkey office, underscored the importance of gender equality mechanisms in universities as well as institutional mechanisms.
In her speech, Tekinay, Vice President of Research and Development at Sabancı University, notified the audience that Times Higher Education will consider the United Nations’ sustainable development goals as part of its criteria in university rankings, and that gender equality is among the criteria Sabancı University aims to fulfill.
Research on Equality Mechanisms
Gülru Göker and Aslı Polatdemir presented their research on the gender equality mechanisms present in different universities. Providing examples of these mechanisms from different higher education institutions, their presentation shared gender action plans in universities, addressed the sustainability of these practices, and discussed the fact of being a woman in academia from different angles.
Struggle Against Sexual Harassment
In the third panel, Yıldız Ecevit, Elif Ekin Akşit, and Olcay Karacan, based on the experiences in their own universities, touched upon gender policies in higher education and committees overall, and mechanisms established against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
This panel highlighted the creation of action plans and raising gender equality awareness as the primary targets universities should address. Additionally, the speakers drew attention to the present action plans universities follow in their struggle against sexual harassment and sexual assault.
"We Need Innovative Projects"
Şevkat Bahar Özvarış, Türküler Erdost, Ayşe Ayata, Mary Lou O'Neil, Bahar Aldanmaz, Alper Açık and Serhat Uyurkulak presented on various projects implemented in universities and funded by the European Union.
Workshop participants discussed the action plans that came out as the result of EU-funded projects, the paths that gender and women’s studies centers may take to implement these projects, and ways of moving forward. The discussion emphasized the need for projects that would lead to innovative and sustainable results.
In the final panel titled “Sexism in the University and Struggle against Sexual Harassment: Types and Examples of Solidarity,” Özlem Şahin Güngör, Dilek Akbulut, Leyla Kahraman, Selda Tuncer, and Ayşe Gül Altınay underscored the need for solidarity among universities and collectives so as to proliferate gender equality awareness and make it permanent in institutional structures.
Panelists discussed the need to have women academics in senior management positions, the proliferation of trainings within universities, and ways of overcoming institutional barriers.
Active student participation
At the end of the workshop, academics, students, civil society representatives and workers and volunteers of gender and women’s studies research and implementation centers agreed upon the need for centers and individuals who work in different institutions of higher education on raising gender equality awareness to meet on a common platform and remain in communication.
Participants also drew attention to the active and conscious participation of students for institutional awareness programs and current actions plans.